Volume 8, Chapter 26: It seems Like I’ve Become a Legend Again, Part 2
“This is ……”
Kyoji advanced carefully with the remaining half of his forces, and a few hours later they found something that resembled an altar behind the steps that lead down into the basement.
Just looking at it, Kyoji could tell that this altar would only respond to the pure magic power of the [Hero]. He didn’t know if he could get at it, and it was certainly not in the range of things that he sought out.
“Still, I have no choice but to try. Everyone, back up.”
“It seems to only react to a Hero.”
As Kyoji had everyone else step back and squeezed out [Pure Magic] from his soul into the altar, the altar began to glow brightly, and letters began to form on the walls.
“This is…… the [Hero’s Secret Arts]?”
The [Hero’s Secret Arts], left by the first hero. Kyoji’s shoulders drooped a little, even though knowing secrets of all of the other heroes’ military power was cause for celebration.
“Lord Kyoji, there’s a small passageway through here.”
Hearing his subordinates call out, Kyoji rushed forth.
The passageway that his subordinate had found was a really cramped and dark passage, and even though it wasn’t quite clear, it seemed like monolith-like objects continued down the corridor on its sides.
“We’re going in. Everyone, line formation. Jared, take point.”
The oldest of the senior knights stood in front with his shield out.
Only Jared had been with Kyoji from the very beginning when he came to this world, and he was the only one amongst them who had become [Hero-class] through tempering in battle, and not through artificial growth. Kyoji trusted Jared the most.
They walked down the dark passage in a line.
Nothing seemed to happen, but when Kyoji, who was in the rear, walked past it, the stone plates lit up.
“Is this also a secret art?”
“It looks like it…… but it’s not meant for battle. And it’s from an older language than the writing in the last room, so I can’t quite tell. “
When Kyoji had been summoned to this world, he had acquired the [Common Language Skill], but the characters on this stone board were old, and it would take a long time to read even if he had the skills to.
“We’ll decipher it later. Let’s advance.”
Things were going well. What he sought was ahead. But,
“I’m sorry. I don’t think we can advance any further……”
“It seems like there’s a barrier for you all. I will go on alone here. The rest of you, return to the front hall and secure the perimeter.”
Jared bowed his head again, but Kyoji waved him off and walked all the way to the back of the passage alone.
“Ohhh…… This is the contract for skills?”
At the very end of the passage was an enormous stone monolith.
It seemed that the castle itself was a magic circle to concentrate and absorb magic from the surroundings, and the small letters that had been carved deep into the enormous stone plate glowed with a pulse.
It was an ancient contract made by the great mages with the Great Spirits for their lives, to give people the use of skills.
“Hehehe…… heheHEHEHEHEHAHAHAHAHAHEHEUEHUEAHAHA!! I can use any skill as I like with this. I can give and take as I wish! With this power, I can become the prophesized god of the new world!”
Kyoji, who usually kept his calm, was unable to suppress his excitement as he touched the stone stele.
While the fine print of the spirit language was unreadable to Kyoji, but Sefira had told him that he could control this contract by pouring his own magic into it and then “overwriting” the contractor.
However, no matter how much magic he poured in, the overwriting didn’t end.
It wasn’t something that he could do in a day, and in fact it would take months at the least.
“What, this is……”
Kyoji tried to break contact, but his hand could not be removed from the stone board. And in fact, even if Kyoji tried to stop the flow of magic power, it was being forcibly ripped from him.
“Don’t you dare take me lightly!!!”
Kyoji rapidly calculated a counterplan and drew out [Pure Magic] from his soul. Although it was forced, he thought that the use of the pure magic power would rip out some of the control of this stone tablet.
“Yes, thank you for your efforts~”
When the voice of the young girl suddenly cut in, the stone stele suddenly stopped absorbing his power, and Kyoji, whose hand was freed, jerked backwards, falling onto his butt.
“Oh my, it’s been a while, Keiji.”
She suddenly appeared there – the golden Saint, Yurushia, who was supposed to have been taken over by evil and turned into the [Demon Lord].
Something was wrong. It felt different from before. Kyoji’s eyebrows knitted even while he was surprised at her casual neighborly attitude.
“How are you here…… no, how did you get rid of the curse of the [Demon Lord]?”
Kyoji’s senses as a [Hero] caused him to recognize the existence of the [Demon Lord] or some other equivalent “evil”.
It was insane to try to even save the vessel from that existence.
That was why Kyoji had started to work on his own purposes and abandoned humanity, who dreamed to rescuing Yurushia.
Was that really Yurushia before him? Her black hair had returned to its original beautiful golden blonde, but that didn’t mean that it was real. As Kyoji doubted, Yurushia smiled beautifully and knowingly…… a smile that seemed a little pleased with herself.
“Of course, I had everyone’s help. Aah, yes, there was some “Traitor” who had run away early from the [Demon Lord] earlier than anyone, but Mizuki’s squad has become the new [Heroes], and there were the two Dark Elven Princesses who helped them, and it seems that they’ve both calmed down too. The Demon Lord is gone, and I think they’ve signed a ceasefire agreement too?”
It was like he was being rejected from a job interview. Yurushia giggled along, and then laughed, as Kyoji watched on bug-eyed.
In the outside world, Kyoji was being called a traitor who had fled from the Demon Lord, and in that new, peaceful world, where the warrior heroes were no longer needed, new heroes were born.
“……… is that so?”
But Kyoji had all the time in the world to be able to mock himself over his own failure.
In order to get rid of everything and attain everything in this world, he had asked for this [Skill Contract] without gathering sufficient information about it.
Various things were in motion, and as long as this suspicious girl died, it could all go well.
Up until this point, Kyoji was unable to do so thanks to the bindings of his own social position, and all of those annoyingly powerful Hero-class attendants of hers were supporting her.
It was unexpected that Yurushia could come to this place where only Heroes were supposed to be able to, but here, it would be possible for him to dispose of her without being obstructed by anyone.
Even if she had the ability of a [Hero-class], she was still the [Saint]. In a straight-up battle, there was no way she could stand against him, a [Hero].
“Oh, my, Keiji. You sure got up suddenly. Aren’t you tired from releasing all that magic?”
“……No, it’s not much of a problem if it’s just this much.”
“As expected of a Hero. But…… Are you really sure you have that much leeway?”
And in that instant, an outcry reached Kyoji’s ears as if it had come from a long distance away.
“Well, I’m not sure. We’ll see soon.”
As Yurushia suddenly spoke in a monotone, she skipped away, back through the long corridor.
Kyoji chased after her, but it seemed that no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t reach her.
There was a strange sense of incongruity as he ran down the passage, but he couldn’t quite tell what it was.
As he emerged out of the passage and squinted at the sudden light of the room, something terrifying entered his view.
There were his subordinates being overrun by dozens of [Greater Demons].
Jared, who was the only one left, was clutching his sword with both hands while he looked worn under the strain of fighting, but the sight of Kyoji’s return brought light back to his eyes.
“What…… what are you saying, Jared?”
He could understand a little, but most of what Jared was saying was incomprehensible to him.
It seemed true for Jared too, and as he heard Kyoji, his face stiffened, and his giant body was blown away handily by a small stuffed rabbit.
“My, my, Keiji. Would you like some pudding? Touka’s handiwork is surprisingly delicious, you know?”
“Don’t fuck with me!”
As Kyoji tried to assist Jared, Yurushia cut in, disturbing his concentration about some unknown new factor.
Despite being a pretty little girl who he should have immediately been able to blow away, Kyoji’s instinct instantly drew his attention to that unknown hindrance.
“Well, because the people of earth who came here were all excessive and absurd, there’s a lot of food. Dried cuttlefish?”
The feeling of incongruity grew stronger still. While he tried to uncover what it was, Jared let out a death cry of agony.
Jared fell bloodily, while the little stuffed rabbit proudly lifted its chin and crossed its arms across its chest.
And as he watched, the giant figure of one of the [Greater Demons] bent low, offering the little stuffed rabbit something that looked like a cheap bottle of sake and kelp boiled in soy sauce.
“Well done, Onzada-kun! But you can’t drink too much, okay~”
As he heard Yurushia speak, Kyoji suddenly remembered the soft toy as the [Independent Magic Tool] that she was carrying when they’d met.
But was it really a magic tool at all? Why were the Demons with her? Had Yurushia really been released from the curse of the [Demon Lord]?
The number of questions he had were overflowing. And the sense of incongruity only grew.
“Thanks for all your hard work, Keiji. Because you worked so hard, Onzada-kun here doesn’t need to be needlessly injured.”
“What are you even talking about!”
“Hey…… haven’t you noticed? We’re currently speaking Japanese, you know?”
Kyoji had indeed been speaking in Japanese. Even if he tried to use the vocabulary that he’d gained in Tess in his mind, the words were merely familiar to him, and he couldn’t gel them together into a sentence.
“The language skills……”
“That’s right. Those things don’t exist anymore.”
Yurushia’s smile sent Kyoji’s already-fragile mental state into even greater shock.
“Didn’t you notice at all? I rewrote the lettering on the stone stele. I couldn’t quite adjust it right with my magic power, but thanks to yours, I managed to get it activated.”
“An inability to use skills…… huh.”
“Oh, that’s not quite right. I have rewritten the stone stele, so actually, all [Skills] have been removed from this land.”
That initial discomfort. That none of the writing of the stone stele could be read.
It was possible for him to replicate the effects of the skills he used frequently, but he couldn’t do anything at all that had previously relied on skills to achieve.
“You…… who are you, Yurushia!”
“Oh my, my, and here I was, giving you various hints, Keiji.”
He had finally noticed the difference in intonation in what Yurushia had been calling him. It was not “Kyoji” like the rest of this world had pronounced it, but rather the native Japanese pronunciation of “Keiji”.
“Are you going to swim back to Earth this time? There’s no air at all, but you seem pretty confident in your lung capacity, yeah?”
Keiji began to sweat profusely as she spoke, the words bringing up the memory of the name of a little girl that had traumatized him.
“It’s been a while, hasn’t it. ……Keiji.”
Her hair and pupil colors were different. But, ever-so-slowly…… Yurushia’s irises began to quietly fill with crimson red, and her sclera turned black, and as the presence of a supreme Demon began to emanate out, Keiji’s face paled and his teeth rattled.
“Ah, that stone stele’s a replica, so you can’t quite control the [Skills], you know? Oh, and by the way, the previous hero of wind sends his “regards”.”
Knowing fully now that he had been dancing on the palm of someone else’s hand this whole time, Keiji was overcome with both fear and the memory of his trauma. He tried to draw his blade, but without the skills to wield it, he dropped it, trying to strike at Yurushia with his bare hands.
He could hear the sound of his bones shattering under his flesh, and Keiji, who had taken Onzada’s right straight directly, was punted across the hall, bouncing several times as he did so, finally slamming into the wall before collapsing in a pile.
“Thank you, Onzada-kun.”[………(sip)]
“Well, it’s time to end it.”
Next time, the end to the world’s troubles.
Ah, sweet sweet release at last. Been waiting for the ever amusing comeuppance.