I opened my eyes at the voice that I could hear from outside the room.
“Good morning, Aya-san.”
“Good morning, Princess Sofia, Prince Leonard, do you have business with Takatsuki-kun?” (Aya)
“Leo said he wanted to meet Hero Makoto and was adamant about it.” (Sofia)
“Eeh, you said you wanted to meet him too, Nee-sama.” (Leo)
“…Silence, Leo.” (Sofia)
Yeah, it is noisy.
“Takatsuki-kun, are you up?” (Aya)
Knock knock, the door was knocked.
“…Hn, I am awake.” (Makoto)
I rubbed my sleepy eyes as I answered.
I trained till late in the night yesterday…
The door opened slowly.
“Good morning, Takatsuki-kun. Let’s have breakfast togeth—” (Aya)
“Good morning. Today’s schedule is—” (Sofia)
Sa-san and Princess Sofia entered and their eyes opened wide as they froze.
“Good morning, everyone. What’s the matter?” (Makoto)
I greeted them while stretching, but…there was no answer.
“Hey, Takatsuki-kun…” (Aya)
Sa-san said with a chilly voice.
An indescribable chill ran down my spine.
The alarm of Detection was ringing loudly.
“Takatsuki Makoto…” (Sofia)
Princess Sofia mutters like a chilly rain.
It wasn’t a metaphor, the temperature of the room literally changed.
The Monarch Ice Magic Skill has activated…?
J-Just what in the world happened?!
—That question was answered soon after.
“Makoto-san and Lucy-san get along so well. You are sleeping on the same bed, huh. By the way, why is Lucy-san not wearing any clothes?” (Leo)
The Prince, who has a pure heart, asks this truly in curiosity.
Thank you for explaining the situation, Prince Leonard.
Also, this situation is the worst!
I glance at my side and Lucy certainly is sleeping by my side.
Now that I think about it, she slept in my bed yesterday.
The shoulder strings of her usual camisole were out of place, and her naked shoulders were in sight, her body covered by the blanket.
Aah, at a glance, it looks as if she were naked.
Oh! This is bad!
“Hm, I see… After shopping with me, you two last night…” (Aya)
Sa-san, why are you gigatisizing the hammer you got yesterday?!
You must not direct something like that at your classmate!
“…At the sacred room of a Hero, you… This is why the otherworlder men are just…” (Sofia)
Princess Sofia was making the coldest eyes I have seen her make, and Ice Spirits were flying around.
The Spirit-sans were really energetic.
I see, is this the so called ‘emotion sharing’ with Spirits?
Wait, this is not the time to be impressed!
(Explain yourself at once. You are on your way for the Bad End.) (Noah)
“W-Wait please!” (Makoto)
I somehow managed to explain to the two and have them understand.
“I-I’m sorry. I fell asleep in Makoto’s room…” (Lucy)
Lucy apologized sullen.
“No, I don’t really mind.” (Makoto)
The misunderstanding was safely dispelled.
“Aaah, how nice. I should sleep in Takatsuki-kun’s room today.” (Aya)
“That sounds like fun! Can I come play too?” (Leo)
“I am fine with that, but I will be training, okay?” (Makoto)
Looks like Sa-san and Prince Leonard will be coming to hang out in my room.
I don’t really mind that.
I noticed the gaze of someone and turned to that direction.
“Will you be coming to hang out too, Princess Sofia?” (Makoto)
“?! W-What are you saying?!” (Sofia)
I was scolded.
Hmm, I thought this would be a good chance to get along better with her though.
“…Hero Makoto, I have something to talk to you about, so please come to my place in the evening.” (Sofia)
Princess Sofia turned her face to the side and said this.
“Hey, where are we going shopping today?” (Aya)
“Eeh? Isn’t it my turn next?” (Lucy)
“Makoto-san! Let’s train magic together!” (Leo)
You people are really energetic.
In the end, I accompanied Prince Leonard in his magic training, went shopping with Lucy, and had tea with Sa-san.
Well, it was quite the fulfilling day.
The evening that day.
I was in the basement prison of the Rozes Castle.
This place is where criminals who have committed vile sins are imprisoned in a holy barrier that they can’t run away from…apparently.
I was brought here by Princess Sofia, and was in front of a certain cell that had a man inside it.
There were thick iron shackles on him, connected by thick chains.
Eh? I feel like I have seen this man before…
“This is the leader of the group that caused the monster disaster the other day.” (Sofia)
I look at his face intently.
I have only spoken to him a little bit, but it is probably him.
The man inside the cell looks up at us with muddy eyes.
“He is the Water Country’s Hero. He is the one who defeated the monster you set out.” (Sofia)
Princess Sofia answered in my stead.
“…This brat did? Damn it, so the awakening failed…?”
A word I didn’t know the meaning of came out.
“The Giant did turn into a Taboo Monster. He defeated the Taboo Giant.” (Sofia)
The man didn’t say anything and just glared at us hatefully.
Aah, so becoming a Taboo Monster is being called as awakening?
And so, I spoke out about something that was bothering me.
“You, you are the comrade of that clown in the circus troupe, right?” (Makoto)
This man is the man that spoke to me who was transformed into the clown the day before the monsters rampaged.
“…What are you talking about? I have no clue.”
The man answered emotionlessly.
Well, of course he wouldn’t answer honestly.
“Hero Makoto, are you acquainted with this Devilkin man of the Snake Church?” (Sofia)
“At the time when I was close to the circus troupe’s tent, I saw him once. Together with a suspicious man in a clown outfit… What’s the Snake Church?” (Makoto)
I obscure the part about moving around at night using the Transformation Skill.
Fuji-yan said that this time’s incident was caused by the Devilkin.
But the Snake Church is a new term.
The man didn’t say anything.
“We have confirmed that the Snake Church the Devilkin follow was the one that was pulling the strings in this time’s monster disaster. He infiltrated into the capital of Horun and was waiting for this moment. That clown man was most likely an executive of that Church. We are chasing after that man. This is something that your merchant friend, Fujiwara-dono, investigated.” (Sofia)
“That’s Fuji-yan alright.” (Makoto)
An exemplary work.
When the name of Fuji-yan came out, the man’s face distorted.
“Damn it! What was with that man! Easily finding our hideout that we took more than 10 years to build up!”
The man punched the iron bars of the cell.
Took more than 10 years…
So it was a plan that spanned such a long time, huh.
What they are doing is the act of terrorists though.
It seems like thanks to Fuji-yan, the terrorist group was arrested.
“The one that the Snake Church follows is the God King Demon, Typhon. Also, it is said the one who founded the Snake Church was the Great Demon Lord of a 1,000 years ago.” (Sofia)
Princess Sofia explains.
“The Great Demon Lord, you say?! Don’t call that great personage with such a ridiculous title! That personage is the one who will guide us Devilkin, the Prophet! That great personage will do a miraculous revival, and bring death to you damn humans!”
The man shouts with bloodshot eyes.
He insulted us with a voice that had a mix of hatred and madness.
It is a bit scary.
“Uhm, by the way, Princess Sofia, why was I brought here?” (Makoto)
“You have become a Hero now. Monsters are not your only enemies.” (Sofia)
Princess Sofia looks at me with grieving eyes.
“It is said that many of the Devilkin are in the fallen country of Raphloaig, but there’s some who blend into the other countries. It would be fine if they were living a normal life, but there’s ones who threaten our peace just like him. Please remember this.” (Sofia)
“Hmm, I see…” (Makoto)
So it is not simply just defeating the Demon Lords, huh.
The difficulty is increasing.
“It would be fine if they were just living a normal life?! You bastards sniff out us Devilkin that are living peacefully, ostracize us, and slaughter us!”
The man grabs the iron bars, and without caring about his shackles yanking at him, he shouted.
“That’s in the past. The current Water Country of Rozes doesn’t actively search for Devilkin and discriminates against them… In general.” (Sofia)
She was expressionless as always, but her voice went lower and lower as it went.
So they did in the past, huh… Or maybe the discrimination still continues in other countries even now.
Well, even if the country tells you not to discriminate, it is not like this will be exactly what the people will do.
“Just you watch… It is pointless to restrain me. Our Church is big. Consider your peaceful lives over.”
The man spits out cursing words, but Princess Sofia says calmly.
“We already know that your next aim is the Sun Country’s capital. We have already contacted the Sun Country.” (Sofia)
The man made a shocked expression for a second.
“Just where did you get that information from…?”
“There’s no need for you to know. Let’s go, Hero Makoto.” (Sofia)
Princess Sofia and I left the underground prison.
“I am sorry, Hero Makoto. I think it wasn’t a pleasant meeting, but considering your position, I thought that it would be better if you were to meet them in person.” (Sofia)
Princess Sofia says this apologetically.
“No, I didn’t know this, so I learned a lot.” (Makoto)
I really didn’t know at all.
This world has a lot going on.
It really weighs on me.
The books of the Water Temple didn’t have that kind of dark history in it.
“The Devilkin are also pitiful people… After the Great Demon Lord’s defeat, they were persecuted in the West Continent, and they were unable to live in the harsh environment of the north continent… As a result, they became a vagrant race with no country, discriminated against for a 1,000 years.” (Sofia)
“Why couldn’t they have a country in the north continent?” (Makoto)
“The devilkin are looked down upon by the pure demons as well. They are called half-demons.” (Sofia)
“Hmm…I see.” (Makoto)
Hated by both humans and demons.
What a tough way to live.
“What became the support of their heart was the Evil God Religion.” (Sofia)
“Eh? Evil God?” (Makoto)
(It is written differently. It is written as Snake God, and read as Evil God.) (Noah)
Aah, in that way.
That really got me nervous.
“Is something the matter?” (Sofia)
“N-No, nothing. So the devilkin belief in the Snake God, huh.” (Makoto)
“The Snake God is the other name for the Demon God King, Typhon. In the legends, it is said that the Great Demon Lord was the Apostle of Typhon. The religion was spread due to this.” (Sofia)
“I see, that’s the history it has.” (Makoto)
I should arrange the information…
I might not be able to remember all of that at once.
“By the way, is it true that the capital of the Sun Country is being targeted?” (Makoto)
“There were apparently documents regarding their plans in the base of their church. There were no exact details about it, but there were traces that they have been investigating the Sun Country’s capital…” (Sofia)
“…I see.” (Makoto)
As someone who is going to be heading there, this is dangerous information.
“The Water Country will be providing you as much protection as possible for you.” (Sofia)
“N-No, there’s Prince Leonard, so it is fine to keep it moderate.” (Makoto)
Or more like, won’t Princess Sofia be the one in most danger?
Having a princess as the target of terrorists is quite the common situation.
At any rate, the racial and religious problems run deep no matter the world, huh.
I am the believer of a God that I can’t tell others about, so I might not be in the best position to give my opinion though.
Now that I think about it, I should ask this just to confirm.
“In the Water Country, is having a belief other than the Water Goddess prohibited?” (Makoto)
I heard that from Noah-sama.
“No, religion is free.” (Sofia)
Wait, Noah-sama! That’s not what I heard!
“The Water Country has a lot of adventurers and travellers, so if we were to limit the religion, there wouldn’t be people coming anymore. However, spreading a religion other than the Water Goddess Eir-sama is prohibited. If you are found doing that, you will be exiled, and when it is of ill-intent…there’s severe punishment.” (Sofia)
“…I see.” (Makoto)
Having your own belief is free, but persuading others is a no.
It would be against the law to increase the believers of Noah-sama then.
I am glad I confirmed.
“If I remember correctly, you said you believed in a God different from that of the 6 Great Goddesses, right?” (Sofia)
“Yeah, it is a minor Goddess…” (Makoto)
When I was designated as a Hero, they advised me to convert, but I told them I believed in a different God and refused.
“If you were to convert to the Water Goddess Eir-sama, I would have been able to ask of her to give you the best Divine Protection that could be provided though… But that would be an insult to your belief, right? Please don’t mind it.” (Sofia)
She is a diligent one.
It would be troubling for me if I were to be pushed to convert, so this is great.
“By the way…” (Sofia)
Princess Sofia changes the subject.
“It seems like Leo will be going to your room tonight. Sorry for the inconvenience.” (Sofia)
“I don’t really mind. We will only be training our magic together anyways.” (Makoto)
“You are a truly hard working person. Your friends that were in the Water Country before only played around.” (Sofia)
Princess Sofia said as she laughed.
“Haha…they are strong even without training after all.” (Makoto)
I got nostalgic remembering my classmates Okada-kun and Kitayama…wait, not really.
Where are they and what are they doing?
Maybe they are chasing women in some other country?
“I wonder about that. I don’t think those guys would have been able to defeat a Taboo Monster.” (Sofia)
“How harsh. Anyways, I am weak, so I have to train everyday”, I answer her while laughing.
“…Uhm, I can’t let Leo stay late for too long, so I will be going to pick him, okay?” (Sofia)
Princess Sofia asks timidly.
I don’t mind him staying long though. She really worries a lot about him.
“You don’t have to worry. In that case, how about you tag along too, Princess Sofia? I would like to hear more in detail about this Snake Church and the Northern Expedition Plan.” (Makoto)
“?! U-Understood. Then, I will!” (Sofia)
She says strongly.
Did I overstep a bit there?
Now that I think about it, having the Princess herself explain those things to me feels kinda rude.
“Well then, let’s meet later.” (Sofia)
Prince Sofia bows elegantly, and she leaves with light steps.
Oh well, that’s fine then.
We will get along better if we talk a whole lot…probably.
And then, in these few days…
At noon we gathered the equipment of Lucy and Sa-san, trained with Prince Leonard and the Guardian Knight old man, and trained myself at night, and then, I would be taught about the world by Princess Sofia who came to visit.
Then, one day…
“Man, sorry for the wait.” (Fujiwara)
Fuji-yan returned to the capital of Horun.
“Sorry for the wait~.” (Nina)
“Sorry it took so long.” (Chris)
Together with Nina-san and Chris-san.
“No no, we had a lot over here too.” (Makoto)
We were able to get plenty enough items and equipment for everyone.
My equipment? My physical strength was not enough, so all powerful magic equipment passed my weight limit…
I am fine with that! I have Spirit Magic, you know?!
“Fuji-yan, your job calmed down a bit now?” (Makoto)
“Yeah, it is decently well now. I have left the remaining work to the employees at the store.” (Fujiwara)
Then, even though the schedule has been changed quite a bit, we are about to return to our original plans.
“Takki-dono, are you gonna be heading to the Sun Country’s capital, Symphonia?” (Fujiwara)
“Yeah, let’s go.” (Makoto)
The biggest country of the continent, the Highland Kingdom’s capital.
To the place that’s said to be the center of this world.