“Your face is red, Sofia.” (Makoto)
“…How can you be so calm?” (Sofia)
We had that kind of conversation when we got down from the carriage.
The splendorous Highland Castle was towering ahead of us.
It has been around 15 minutes since we left the Fujiwara Company.
Princess Sofia was spoiled a whole lot by me inside the carriage.
Princess Sofia sighed lightly and made a gesture as if calming down her heart.
A desire to tease her welled up a bit inside of me.
I glanced at my back, and the bodyguard knights were standing a bit apart from us.
It is inside the area of the castle, so they must have judged there’s no issues with the security.
“…You were really intense there, Sofia. I didn’t expect you to do that inside the carriag—hngh.” (Makoto)
She glared at me and covered my mouth with unbelievable speed.
Her face has also returned to being beet red.
“…Let’s not talk about that, okay?” (Sofia)
‘I’ll kill you’, is what her eyes were telling me, and I obediently nodded.
We had the soldiers open the big doors of the Highland Castle, and we walked through the long corridor.
I have walked through here several times already, but I am still not used to it.
“By the way, who are we meeting? Princess Noel?” (Makoto)
“It would be nice if we could get time with Noel-sama, but…there’s others, right…? Other people that would want to see you.” (Sofia)
When she told me this, I pictured a number of them.
When speaking of close people in Highland, it would be…
My name was suddenly called.
And then, a golden something approached me.
“You are back!”
The one that tackled me with quite the momentum…no, hugged me, was a female knight.
Blonde hair that felt like it was shining, and sparkling golden armor.
There’s only one super flashy female knight I know that fits that description.
“It has been a while, Janet-san.” (Makoto)
“Oh my, there’s no need to call me with honorifics. Hey, I want to hear the stories you have. Come to my room.” (Janet)
The last part was an order.
The little sister of the Lightning Hero, Geralt-san, and the young lady of a big noble family of the Sun Country.
She hated me at first, but we grew closer when we adventured at Spring Log.
She is grabbing my hand tightly and isn’t letting go.
“Janet, we have a place to go to. Leave it for later.” (Sofia)
Princess Sofia got in between us.
“Oh my, you were here, Sofia? I didn’t notice.” (Janet)
Janet-san says back as if she were provoking her.
“…Those eyes of yours must be for decoration, I see. How about quitting the pegasus knights that are supposed to be scouts?” (Sofia)
“…Your way too plain dress didn’t enter my sight. My bad.” (Janet)
“Oh my, as expected of a person that wears golden armor that lacks any class, what you say really is different from others.” (Sofia)
“You are one woman that doesn’t understand the worth of things.” (Janet)
“Right back at you.” (Sofia)
Princess Sofia and Janet-san glare at each other with bold smiles.
This is bad. At this rate, conflict will occur between the royalty of Rozes and the big nobles of the Sun Country!
While I was getting cold sweat here, Janet-san turned my way.
“Takatsuki Makoto is getting troubled here.” (Janet)
“That won’t do.” (Sofia)
The two stopped glaring at each other and their expressions grew softer.
“Sofia, let’s stop the joking here. I would like to hear his story too.” (Janet)
“Yeah, I know. We plan on having a party to celebrate Hero Makoto’s return tonight at the Fujiwara Company’s residence. I will send you an invitation later.” (Sofia)
“Understood. Takatsuki Makoto, let’s take our time talking later, okay?” (Janet)
This is my first time hearing about this plan though?
But well, we are talking about the adept Fuji-yan here.
He must have proposed this to Princess Sofia on the back.
I am grateful to be given an occasion to tell my acquaintances about my return.
There’s one thing that bothered me.
“Could it be that Geralt-san is also there?” (Makoto)
I asked nervously.
If he is coming, I feel like he would be asking me about the battle of the Demon Lords in the past the whole night.
But Janet-san shook her head to the sides sadly.
“Unfortunately…my brother is at the frontline base that’s in the northmost extremity of the continent.” (Janet)
“Frontline base?” (Makoto)
“The base of the alliance army that will serve as the first line of defense for when the demon lord army attacks. Since the resurrection of the Great Demon Lord, there would always be several Heroes stationed there.” (Janet)
“I see…so that’s how it was.” (Makoto)
According to what I heard, the Lightning Hero Geralt-san and the Scorching Hero Olga-san have headed to the Frontline Base.
In other words…
“I am eventually going to go to the Frontline Base?” (Makoto)
I was thinking things were going to be getting busy from now on, but Princess Sofia and Janet-san opened their eyes wide.
“Oh my, Takatsuki Makoto, you really don’t know anything about the current state of things.” (Janet)
“Yeah, we plan on explaining it to him later.” (Sofia)
I couldn’t keep up with the conversation of the two.
Did I say something weird?
“See ya later, Sofia.” (Janet)
“Yes, Janet. See you later.” (Sofia)
The two were exchanging elegant smiles.
It is as if the thorny atmosphere of before was a lie.
“Are you close to Janet-san?” (Makoto)
“Yes, we are borrowing the combatants of the Valentine Household to deal with the monsters of the Water Country. In exchange, we would dispatch our priests here. You could say the connection between our families is stronger recently.” (Sofia)
“I see.” (Makoto)
I do remember being told that before.
“As for anything else, we have been talking about you pretty frequently.” (Sofia)
“…I-Is that so?” (Makoto)
Just what in the world did those two talk about me?
I want to know…and at the same time I don’t.
In the end, I didn’t delve too deeply into that.
I then noticed Princess Sofia was staring at me intently.
“There’s one thing I want to tell you.” (Sofia)
I got a bit nervous at the serious tone of Princess Sofia.
“Takatsuki Makoto…you are currently not a Hero.” (Sofia)
I was shocked.
No way…did I get fired?
(Like hell that would happen.) (Ira)
The Destiny Goddess retorted.
You were listening?
“When you went to the past…we had to explain to the citizens that you wouldn’t be able to perform your duties as the Country Designated Hero. However, we couldn’t disclose to the public that you had travelled in time. Because of this, we had to announce that Hero Makoto had been seriously wounded in the fight against the Demon Lord Zagan, and can’t fight anymore. At that time, you were elevated from Country Designated Hero to Honorary Hero.” (Sofia)
“Honorary Hero…?” (Makoto)
Is it like the eternal missing number?
Why did she do such a troublesome thing?
(A Hero is the symbol of the country’s military power after all. If it suddenly disappeared, the people would get uneasy, right? That’s why there’s the need to give them some sort of explanation.) (Ira)
I nod in understanding at the explanation of Ira-sama.
I couldn’t think about that stuff since I headed to the past, but the ones that remained must have had to do a lot of things.
(By the way, an Honorary Hero isn’t treated as being on active duty, so they don’t have the obligation to participate in the battle against the Great Demon Lord.) (Ira)
So that’s what this is.
I now understand the words of Janet-san just before.
Looks like there’s no need for me to go to the Frontline Base.
“Asking just in case, but…are you going to go back to being a Country Designated Hero? I promise that your status in the Water Country is already the highest there is. Glory and fortune will be given to you as you wish.” (Sofia)
Princess Sofia asked me this with an upward glance.
“Hmmm, are there inconveniences with staying as a Honorary Hero? Whichever the case, I will be fighting the Great Demon Lord, you know?” (Makoto)
“……Listen here, there’s no need to force yourself to fight the Great Demon Lord, you know? You are not a Hero on active duty after all.” (Sofia)
She said almost the same thing as Ira-sama.
But the answer is already set.
“I came back to the present to fight the Great Demon Lord again.” (Makoto)
“This man… Got it. I will go through the procedures to bring you back to being a Country Designated Hero. We have explained to the people that you can’t even move your body, so please stay put for a while.” (Sofia)
Looks like I won’t be able to go to this so-called Frontline Base immediately.
I was a bit interested though.
At that moment, I remembered something.
“You spread the word about Noah-sama in Rozes, right?” (Makoto)
“Yes. I got the permission of Eir-sama, and…most of all, it is the Goddess that Hero Makoto worships and has been accepted officially as the 8th Goddess by the Goddess Church. I can’t just not do anything.” (Sofia)
“Thank you very much.” (Makoto)
I give her my sincere thanks.
“I haven’t done anything to warrant thanking. By the way, have you spoken to Noah-sama already?” (Sofia)
“About that, not yet.” (Makoto)
I ended up letting out a slightly dissatisfied tone.
I thought for sure we would be able to talk immediately after returning to the present.
“I see. This is what I was told by Eir-sama, but…there’s something she wanted me to tell the Hero and Oracle of Noah-sama.” (Sofia)
“The Hero and Oracle that Noah-sama chose?” (Makoto)
I was so shocked I even heard the *gan* sfx ringing.
But I see.
Now that she has become a Goddess accepted by the country, she will obviously be choosing a Hero and Oracle.
I am an Apostle, so that’s a different position.
In the case of the Water Goddess, Prince Leonard is the Hero.
Princess Sofia is the Oracle.
…The Hero and Oracle that Noah-sama chose, huh.
Will I be able to get along with them?
I wouldn’t like it if our personalities didn’t mesh.
“That’s not it, Hero Makoto. Noah-sama isn’t choosing a Hero and Oracle.” (Sofia)
“Isn’t choosing?” (Makoto)
“Yeah… Eir-sama was somewhat angry that she isn’t fulfilling her duty as the 8th Goddess.” (Sofia)
“What are you doing…Noah-sama…” (Makoto)
Was she that much of an airhead?
No, that Goddess acts as if she is airheaded, but actually isn’t.
She is different from a certain Goddess.
(Who is this ‘certain Goddess’ you are talking about?) (Ira)
Not about you, Ira-sama.
(Don’t lie! I saw my face surfacing in your mind!) (Ira)
I profusely apologize for my rude comment.
“I leave it to you, Hero Makoto.” (Sofia)
“Okay, leave it to me.” (Makoto)
I will ask about that when I meet her.
The expression of Sofia changed at this moment.
“By the way, have you heard about the achievements Lucy-san and Aya-san obtained after you left?” (Sofia)
The topic changed.
“No, I was instantly assaulted by them right when I met them after all.” (Makoto)
“Haah…is that so. The Water Country was in a gloomy mood from losing one Hero, but Lucy-san and Aya-san were working as adventurers. Right now Aya-san is Orihalcon Rank and Lucy-san is a Platinum Rank and a Saint Rank Mage. They have become a famous party known by everyone in the continent.” (Sofia)
Princess Sofia said proudly.
“Eh…? Orihalcon and Saint Rank Mage…?” (Makoto)
In just one year?!
“Judging from your face, it looks like this is the first time you have heard of this. Their names have reverberated in the Water Country as the number one adventurer party, the Crimson Fangs.” (Sofia)
“Crimson Fangs…” (Makoto)
That’s super different from the nickname I got when I was at the water city.
At that time, I was called the Goblin Cleaner!
Can they let me join the Crimson Fangs…?
(Aren’t you the party leader?) (Ira)
But my adventurer rank is low…
And I am not an active adventurer anymore…
“…Uhm, why are you making a gloomy expression?” (Sofia)
“I was thinking how everyone has become so great in the time I wasn’t here.” (Makoto)
“What you achieved is far more outstanding though… Do you even get that?” (Sofia)
Princess Sofia comforted me, but the desire to get back to being an active Hero and work a whole ton welled up in me.
I want to get a nickname like Crimson Fangs as well!
(Crimson Fangs is the party name, not a nickname, you know?) (Ira)
The small details don’t matter.
Even so, both Lucy and Sa-san rose up, huh.
At that moment, a certain party member’s face surfaced in my mind.
“Now that I think about it, Princess…Furiae-san, is she doing well?” (Makoto)
She wasn’t together with Lucy and Sa-san.
She is most likely focusing her all in restoring Laphroaig.
She must be working hard as a Holy Maiden.
Princess Sofia looked meaningfully at me when I asked that question.
“If you are surprised about Lucy-san and Aya-san, you will be even more surprised when we talk about Furiae-san.” (Sofia)
“What do you mean by that?” (Makoto)
Just when Princess Sofia was about to say something..
At the same time as my name was called, I was pushed down.
(You are one man that gets pushed down a lot…) (Ira)
My Physical Strength stat is 3, you know…
(That’s not the stat of someone in their late teens…) (Ira)
Isn’t it your fault that my stats are so low, Destiny Goddess-sama?
(It is not my fault. You were unlucky.) (Ira)
I can’t believe you, the one called the Luck Goddess, is saying that!
While I was having that chat, I looked up.
The ones looking down at my face were two handsome people.
A pretty boy with tears in his eyes, and a handsome man in tears as well.
Looking at it like this, the tears of a man really are heavy.
“I am back, Sakurai-kun, Prince Leonard.” (Makoto)
I reunited with my colleague Hero and my childhood friend Hero.
>Makoto is purposely letting himself be kissed and pushed down, right?
>The Great Sage-sama didn’t say it tasted bad, so that means Makoto-san is still a virgin? Or maybe his blood is tasty even when not a virgin?
-This is important, so I will be properly writing about this later.
I feel like the reunions will be continuing for a while. Next would be the explanation of the current era.
The developments are going slow? This is the last arc, so I want to take my time writing it.
The illustration is the scene where the Scorching Hero Olga-san and Makoto+Sa-san meet (7th Arc)
The weapon she is holding is the Holy Sword Balmung.
The Holy Sword that Anna-san swung around and got bent.
I have published an illustration of Noah-sama on twitter of the 7th Volume.
It turned out pretty cool.