The Hero’s Supposed Successor — Part 3
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
After leaving the castle, Nell and I spent a good bit of time walking around the city. It took us roughly half an hour to finally reach the extravagant building that supposedly served as the church’s headquarters. As one would expect, it was extremely large and appeared to contain enough history for it to be labelled as a world heritage site.
There was a minor hitch in our plans, and while it certainly did affect us in the short term, it wasn’t one that changed anything in the long run. Our original idea was to inform the church of both Nell’s revival and our engagement through the lady knight that was her boss. But that fell through, as Nell’s direct superior was not currently in town. She had been sent off on a mission in order to accomplish an objective or two elsewhere. We suspected that divulging our engagement to someone higher up the ladder may not have exactly been wise given my lack of association with any of the individuals in question and the current instability of Nell’s position, so we decided to hold off on it for the time being.
In fact, I didn’t even end up joining her for her report. As someone completely unaffiliated to the church or the officials that were present, I ended up stuck in a waiting room while she caught up with the brass.
She seemed to feel bad about leaving me out to dry, as the first thing she greeted me with upon returning was an apologetic smile before briefing me on everything that came up in her discussions. Carlotta’s superior had apparently given her an earful; he had not been content with her prolonged absence. You know, I’m starting to think waiting out here probably would’ve been the better choice even if I was allowed in. I probably would’ve ended up getting pissed and acting way out of line.
One thing that I ended up learning long after deciding to marry Nell was that, apparently, marriage in Allysia was a rather simple ordeal. Unlike in Japan, there was no need for anything as complicated as signing a series of documents, nor was it standard practice to marry in a church. I’d assumed that marriage was what churches were for, but apparently, I was wrong. Only high ranking nobles, like dukes and members of the royal line, had to go through such an arduous, ritualistic process.
For those of common birth, an agreement was all that was required to set things in motion. Informing one’s relatives wasn’t even considered absolutely necessary, though it was naturally common practice. That was another one of the reasons I had tagged along for the journey. I had to meet Nell’s parents, or rather, parent. Meeting the woman responsible for single-handedly raising one of the women in my life was a task that even I found monumental. It was, without a doubt, going to be the hardest part of this whole trip. Even just thinking about it made me nervous. Come on, Yuki, you got this. Just run it through a few times in your head, and you’ll be fine.
With that thought in mind, we returned to the castle and called it a night.
The next morning got off to what could only be described as an unfortunate start. I found myself standing in the middle of the colosseum-like structure attached to the castle, the royal army’s training grounds. And when I say colosseum-like, I mean it. It’s even got the seats and everything. Anyway, I know exactly what you’re thinking. “What the fuck, Yuki? How the hell did you end up there?” Honestly, I’m not really all that sure myself.
I was, of course, not present entirely of my own volition. My morning was a bit of an odd one. I spent most of breakfast half asleep because I’d awoken in response to a conversation between Enne and Nell. After my meal, I was almost immediately visited by some sort of servant. The maid in question had apparently dropped by to inform me that I’d been summoned. Naturally, my first thought was, “why me?” I saw no reason anyone would want to see me over the hero. I had yet to figure out my plans for the rest of the day, so I ended up letting my curiosity get the better of me—only to regret it immediately upon arrival at my final destination.
The noble that had gone out of their way to grab me was one I had the displeasure of recognizing.
“The stage is set, and all is ready for us to engage in single combat!” Mr. Fancypants greeted me with the most self-important grin a human could possibly have. His arms were crossed, and his chin was raised, seemingly just so he could make it look like he was looking down on me.
Oh boy… Not this shit again.
“You want me to duel you…?” I sighed.
“That’s right, meister! Pick up a sword and steel yourself so that I can prove once and for all that you’re no match for me!”
“Uh huh…” I rolled my eyes as I turned around. “Well, you have fun doing you. I’m heading back to my room. See ya.”
“Huh? W-w-wait! Where are you going!? Why are you refusing my challenge!?”
The duke’s son spent a few moments in utter confusion before circling in front of me to act as a physical barrier between me and the exit.
“What do you mean, why am I refusing? I don’t know about you, but I don’t see a reason for me to put up with any of your shit.”
Like, seriously? What the actual fuck? Didn’t I just kick this retard’s ass yesterday? Talk about persistent. At first, I wasn’t really sure if Mr. Fancypants was acting tough or stupid. Looking back on our interactions, however, soon led me to realize it was probably the latter. None of the actions he’d demonstrated thus far had reeked of even the slightest bit of intelligence.
All the commotion we caused naturally led the other soldiers present to turn their eyes towards us. They began quietly whispering to one another at a distance, but my fine-tuned senses allowed me to hear them perfectly regardless.
“Hey guys, are you seeing what I’m seeing…? Because I think that’s the Masked Meister,” said a royal guard.
“It must be. The mask he’s got on matches how everyone’s been describing it perfectly,” said another. “I heard a few of the maids mention that he was staying in the castle for a while. I thought it was just a rumour.”
“It looks like he’s talking to Sir Manuel,” added a third.
“Yeah, it does, but why would the meister be talking to someone like him?”
“Well, you know how Sir Manuel is…”
“Right… Good point. I can’t believe even the meister has to put up with him…”
And here I thought I was the only one that thought he was obnoxious. It turned out that there wasn’t anyone particularly charmed by Mr. Fancypants’ “sociable” personality—and that he apparently caused situations much like the current one all the goddamn time.
“You cannot refuse this request.” Unaware of all the gossip going on behind his back, the noble continued to speak in a tone that dripped with confidence. “It comes from both the second son of a duke and the hero’s soon to be successor.”
“The hero’s soon to be successor?” I raised a brow. “And who the fuck is that?”
“Me, of course! Who else!?” He squawked at me indignantly before faking a cough to both regain his composure and shift topics. “I only ended up leaving yesterday because I realized that there was something I had to attend to immediately. I can’t have you looking down on me given that I will soon become this country’s hero. So today, I’ll be showing you my true power.”
Alright, let me just get this straight. This dumbfuck’s going to be taking Nell’s place? Seriously? Gimme a break. Look at how low his stats are… I mean, sure, he’s got some pretty good numbers, for a human, but that ain’t saying much. Nell has always been much stronger, even when she was just starting out.
“Woooow Manny, you’re soooo cool. Self-proclaimed titles are just sooooooo impressive.” Again, I rolled my eyes. “But hey, you know what, it’s a good dream. Do your best. I’m sure you’ll get strong enough to be a hero eventually.”
“I-It isn’t self-proclaimed!” He shouted, indignantly. “I wasn’t the one that brought the idea up, I’m just doing it because I was told that the duty would ultimately fall to me!”
“…So you’re telling me that someone else made you step up to the plate?”
“That’s right! I was told that my power would be needed for us to keep Allysia stable and that I would need to become our country’s next hero!”
Interesting… After making a mental note of the fact that I had lucked out, I began contemplating Mr. Fancypants’ circumstances. The man that had been looking to put him on the hero’s pedestal was likely one with a vested interest in getting Nell to step down. I very highly doubted that the two were unrelated. The duke’s son suited their purposes perfectly. The combination of his lineage and his above-average strength made him the perfect piece to parade around. And his lack of brainpower was, if anything, an advantage, as it was unlikely he would think too deeply about the circumstances or catch on to all of the shady things his sponsors were up to. Too bad working with idiots is a double-edged sword, huh? Time to take full advantage of the situation and milk him for all the intel he’s got.
The overly well-dressed noble was certainly aiming high, but intelligence aside, his personality wasn’t doing him any favours. A hero was a public figure, which meant he needed to swallow his pride if he wanted other people to like him. Not that he’ll be any match for Nell, by any measure, even if he does.
“Alright, Manny, you know what? I’ve changed my mind. I’ll spar with you or whatever. But only under one condition. If I win, then you tell me all about the guy who told you that you’d be the next hero.”
“Is that really all you want?” He eyed me suspiciously. “Fine. And if you’re strong enough to defeat me, then I might, might, consider allowing you to become one of my subordinates when I finally take on the hero’s mantle.” He walked over to a nearby shelf and grabbed a pair of wooden blades as he spoke. “But I already know that will never happen. Because I am very, very strong!”
He chucked one of the practice weapons at me whilst continuing to act like a pompous ass.
“Yeah uhh… I’mma just pass on that ahead of time,” I said. “You sure you wanna do this with wooden swords and not real ones?”
“Of course! The point of this exercise is for us to better ourselves. There’s no rhyme or reason in risking a serious injury in training.”
Huh… Wow, he’s less of a douche than I thought. I was expecting him to use this as an excuse to try and off me.
“Mr Demon Lord!”
A faraway shout, one certainly outside human earshot, interrupted my thoughts. The appendages on either side of my head twitched as I tuned into the conversation my senses had detected.
“…Mr. Demon Lord?” said Ronia, suspiciously.
“Oh uhm… don’t mind that. We were playing a game of make-believe with Lady Iryll earlier. I was the hero, and he was the demon lord, so I guess it must’ve just stuck,” said Nell.
“I see…” The mage didn’t seem very convinced, but decided not to pursue the topic any further.
“That sounds really fun, but I don’t think we’ve ev—” Iryll began to speak, but Nell cut her off before she could finish her sentence.
“A-Alright, it looks like he’s going to be duelling someone, so let’s cheer him on together, Lady Iryll!”
“That sounds like a great idea!” replied the petite princess. “Do your best, Mr. Demon Lord! I know you can do it!”
I decided to entertain the princess by turning around to face her. As I did, she began waving with big, wide motions in order to get my attention. It turned out that the girls were seated in the bleachers. I was a bit surprised to see them all present, but figured that it was probably because Nell had grabbed them before following in my footsteps. Well, Nell, it’s going to be up to you to make sure Magegirl doesn’t figure out my identity. Don’t let me down. I’m counting on you.
(APRIL FOOL’S PRANK) TL Note: As Cardboard Translations is not an essential service, we will be temporarily shutting down for the duration of the government lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be no more updates until the lockdown ends in May. We hope to be back up and running by early June at the latest. Thank you for your understanding. This announcement has also been echoed in chapter 141, which has been uploaded at the same time as this post.