The Hero’s Supposed Successor — Part 2
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
“Who am I?” I repeated the question. “You know, I’m not actually all that sure how I want to answer that.” I turned towards the hero and the mage for a quick, not-so-secretive consultation. “How do you girls think I’m supposed to be introducing myself? I can either do my actual name, or an alias, and I’m not actually sure which is better.” I communicated the inquiry in a voice that was obviously loud enough for Mr. Fancypants to hear.
As far as the average Allysian was concerned, my name was Wye, and I served as the hero’s mysterious companion. But my face had already been revealed to Sengillia’s guards, and therefore the world at large. I wasn’t all that sure if there was even a purpose in hiding my identity for much longer. Moreover, I was not exactly keen on getting married under a pseudonym. The idea just didn’t sit right with me.
“Oh, uhm, hmm… that’s a good question,” said Nell. “I think you might as well go with your real name since there are already people who know what you look like.”
“That’s a bad idea,” countered Ronia. “If you’re going to give him a name, use an alias.”
“Why’s that?” asked the hero, wide-eyed.
“Anyone you feel strongly about should reveal as little about themselves as possible,” she replied, matter-of-factly. “It’s best for him to keep using an alias until the very end. No matter what you two end up choosing to do. Anything your enemies learn can be used against you. So it’s best to tell them as little as possible.”
“H-how did you know how I felt about him!?” squeaked Nell.
“You’re bad at hiding your feelings. As your friend, it’s easy for me to tell exactly what you’re thinking.”
“I see…” I said as I took in her explanation. “Alright, well in that case, I’ll go ahead and just stick with my alias, since it seems more logically sound,” I concluded our impromptu discussion and turned back face Mr. Fancypants. “Who am I? I’m Wye, the hero’s mysterious subordinate.”
“Did you not just declare that a pseudonym!? What do you take me for!?” retorted Mr. Fancypants, emotionally. “What immature nonsense! I cannot see why any hero would associate with, let alone travel alongside the likes of you.”
I ignored his ranting and took the opportunity to analyze him and learn a bit about his identity.
Name: Manuel Klauser
Class: Intermediate-Level Knight
His stats generally sat between 300 and 350, which meant that each of his fundamental stats was about three times that of the average adult human being. His skills were nothing out of the ordinary given his class, and mainly consisted of things knights seemed like they would like using, such as Sword Mastery and Shield Mastery. All in all, he was pretty strong, for a human, and certainly seemed like someone that most others would consider competent.
“So? What do you want, Manny?” I crossed my arms. “We’ve kinda got shit to do, so we’re not sticking around unless it’s important.”
“So you do know who I am!” exclaimed Manuel. “If you know who I am, then why did you bother pretending otherwise!? Your actions make no sense!” After shouting his heart out, Mr. Fancypants cleared his throat to shift topics before continuing in a more irritating tone. “Hmph. I can certainly see why so many have lost confidence in the hero if she keeps such ludicrous men in her company. But I suppose that was not something that could be helped. There is no way a mere commoner, let alone a young girl, could possibly live up to the role’s expectations! Our leadership’s inability to understand that is why this country has been left in such a broken state.”
His rant was so accusatory and ridiculous that it caused Magegirl to puff up in anger. And yet, he continued.
“Everything that has happened stems from her lack of power! Compared to her predecessor, who was both charismatic and almighty, she’s nothing but an eyesore! She needs to ste—!”
Ronia stepped forward to express her indignation and fight his words off with her own.
But I took action before her.
I rushed forward, grabbed the bastard by the face, and lifted him into the air with one arm.
“You got some balls, dissing Nell in front of me like that.”
I spoke in a low hiss as I began to apply force. I was holding back. I didn’t intend on killing him just yet, but my digits slowly began sinking into his skull regardless.
“Argghhh!?” He screamed in pain as his bones creaked under the force of my grip. “Y-you dare use force on me!? You won’t be getting off easy for this!”
“I don’t fucking care.”
“D-do you know what you’re doing!? My father is a duke! And I’m his second son! For a commoner like you, the act of attacking a noble is more than enough reason for you to lose your he—”
“I. Don’t. Fucking. Care.”
I casually threw him into a nearby wall after the words left my mouth. The impact was accompanied by a pained groan, after which he collapsed with his back against the wall.
After walking over, I squatted down right in front of him so we saw eye to eye. “I don’t care how important you are. I don’t care who your father is, or who he knows,” I spoke in a low, threatening growl. Each of my words came out slowly, heavily laced with venom. “And since you seem to be having some trouble understanding me, I’ll lay it out for you, nice and simple. I do two things, keep my allies safe and destroy my enemies. And so, as someone that’s decided to talk shit about my fiancée, I’m going to have to ask you this: are you one of my enemies?”
His face paled. He scampered away from me and to his feet before turning tail and running down the hall whilst screaming the type of line one would normally expect to hear from a small-time criminal. “You’ll regret doing this! I swear it!”
While I did keep my eyes glued on his back, I didn’t bother chasing him. Instead, I took my sweet time standing back up, half in confusion.
“The hell? Why’s he just running off? Wasn’t he literally just trying to pick a fight?”
“You know, after seeing that, I think I’m starting to feel bad for him,” said Nell, with a dry laugh. “And now that I think about it, I’ve come to realize that you’re really good at scaring people and shaking them down.”
“Wow, rude. You’re making it sound like I’m some sort of punk,” I said. “I mean, it works, right? Hell, I’d even say it’s pretty efficient. You can avoid a lot of problems if you just freak out the right people.”
As much as I didn’t want to acknowledge it, I knew that I had gotten fairly good at the art of intimidation, but not intentionally. The events that had transpired since I turned into a demon lord just so happened to coincidentally grant me with plenty of experience. Man… I’ve been doing some pretty nasty things, huh? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure that making people shit their pants is the kind of skill honest people generally tend to do without. Oops…
“Well, I’m sorry, but it’s just an honest observation,” She smiled at me teasingly. “But thanks, Yuki. Thanks for getting so mad for me.”
“It was nothin’.”
“…Fiancée?” Ronia muttered the term suspiciously as she repeatedly switched between staring at the two of us.
“Oh, uhm… Mhm…” Nell fidgeted around before bashfully nodding. “We’re getting married. It’s not official yet, but that’s why he’s here with me. We’re talking to everybody about it and sorting through all the formalities.”
“Oh…” The mage frowned for the briefest of moments, seemingly disappointed, but soon switched to the less-than-expressive expression she usually wore. “I guess that means you’ll be retiring. It’s going to be lonely around here without you. But if you’re happy, I am too.”
“Huh? Retiring? I’m not retiring,” said Nell. “I’m still going to be keeping at it and doing my part.”
“…Are you serious?”
“W-why wouldn’t I be…?”
“Nell…” The mage sighed before looking my way sympathetically. “I’m sorry about her. She’s not usually this stubborn. But she gets this way sometimes. I don’t know why either.”
“Ehhhh… I mean, I kinda figured this would be how things played out with her being her, so it’s not like I don’t know what I’m getting into.”
“W-what the heck, you two!? Why are you making it sound like I’m the odd one out?” Nell seemed completely taken aback by the difference between our opinion and hers.
“You know, Nell, I’ve always thought you were a bit of a weirdo,” said Magegirl.
“You’re one of the last people I’d ever want to hear that from!”
I chuckled a bit before shifting gears.
“So what were you doing with that retard anyway? You two don’t exactly seem like the type to mesh.”
All the insults Mr. Fancypants had fired in Nell’s direction had clearly gotten the sorceress’ blood boiling. The glare she had given him was one that contained no shortage of bloodlust, and was the type one would never give a friend.
“It was for work…” she mumbled. “I was ordered to teach him magic. And I couldn’t refuse. Because I’m one of the court’s mages, and his father is a duke.”
“Eughh… Sounds like a pretty shit job.”
“Ronia’s one of our best mages, so all sorts of people come to her for instruction.”
“Yeaahhh, Iunno about you, but to me, that just sounds like a huge pain in the ass. ‘Cause by the sounds of it, you’ve probably gotta deal with stuck-up assholes like Mr. Fancypants pretty much all the time.”
“Unfortunately, you’re right. There are so many of them it drives me insane. It doesn’t make sense for me to waste my precious time on idiots like him. I’d never even look at him twice if not for work.”
The changes in the mage’s expression were normally rather diminutive. But not this time. She was clearly way more than fed up with all the shit she had to put up with. That… sounds stressful. And not the type of job someone so young would be happy to be stuck with. She must’ve been through a lot. Man, I’m glad I reincarnated as a demon lord. Not having to give a fuck about society or its rules is a godsend.
My new position in life came with the downside of having to deal with everything that came my way myself. There were no social programs or safety nets to support me. But I didn’t mind. I preferred freedom over any of the downsides I’d ended up experiencing. You hear that, kids? Becoming a demon lord is something you *should* try at home.
“We’ve been talking for a long time,” said Ronia. “Didn’t you two need to get somewhere?”
“Oh yeah! We do!” exclaimed Nell. “We can talk more tomorrow, the day after, or whenever you happen to have time. We’ll be staying in the castle, so it should be pretty easy for you to find us.”
“Yeah, do stop by,” I added. “You’re pretty fun to have around, and I’d totally love to hear all about the more embarrassing parts of Nell’s past.”
“Tough luck, that’s not happening, right, Ronia?”
“Yup. Tough luck. I’m telling him everything I know.”
And with that, we said our goodbyes and parted ways with Magegirl. Oh man, that was a riot. She’s a fun one.