“Yes, a hero.” Zich hit his ears several times with his hands. He tried shoving his fingers into his ear and tried shaking his head to get his act together.
“Yes, a hero. You heard it right. A hero like Glen Zenard. I’m not speaking in a roundabout way, and there’s no hidden meaning behind it. I meant exactly what I said.”
“…Me?” Zich pointed a finger towards himself, and unlike his usual self, there was none of his usual composure; he even looked a bit dumb.
But Lyla didn’t make fun of him. Honestly, she had a hard time believing it herself. “I also can’t believe it. Since my memory is fuzzy, I don’t know how you became a hero or how you lived your life, but there was definitely a future where you were a hero. And the name you used in that future was Zich Brave.”
“I got it.” Zich clapped his hands. And with great strength and resolve, he said, “I will never use that last name, Brave.”
“Do whatever you want.” Lyla was not even surprised by Zich’s reaction.
Zich reclined back on his chair, and unlike a few moments before, he looked very tired. “Did I use Estellade during that time?”
“Maybe, I think so.”
Zich tightly held the sword that looked like a tree branch in his hand. Even though he already liked the sword, he now had an even greater appreciation for it.
Zich let out a sigh. “This is my last question. Do you remember when we first met?”
Zich’s tone sounded like he was mentioning a sentimental memory between past lovers. However, their first meeting was far from something like that.
“Yeah, we had a huge fight.”
“It’s because you were very suspicious.”
“You should consider my position. I was meeting the guy who might become the future Demon Lord.”
“But I was not the Demon Lord then.”
“No matter how you looked at it, you were not Zich Steelwall. And definitely not Zich Brave. Then what was I supposed to think when only Zich Moore was left?”
“Well, let’s just say that we both misunderstood each other in our respective positions.”
But this was not the part that Zich was curious about. There was no need for them to get emotional about their past fights.
“Do you remember how you looked at me in that fight?”
“Do you mean when I looked at you as I would look at a future Demon Lord?”
“No, I mean when you looked at me before you ran away.”
At last, Lyla remembered what Zich was talking about and let out a groan. “Thinking back on it, I did look at you a bit differently while I was running away.”
“That was the first time I saw someone’s eyes reflect both animosity and sentimentality. While I completely understand the animosity, why did you look at me with sentimentality?”
Since he thought it was very strange, Zich vividly remembered this memory.
“I don’t know. At that moment, I just felt sentimental. I don’t remember why exactly.”
“Is it related to your hazy memories again?”
“Probably. But I feel like something was different. And I think the animosity was not towards Moore. I can’t even pinpoint what that sentimentalism was about.”
“In the end, this is also a mystery.” Zich put his arm on the armrest in a crooked position and looked up at the ceiling. “Okay, I basically asked everything I wanted to ask you. Thank you for replying.”
After that, Zich and Lyla made small talk. Since they had gotten much closer over the past few days, they were able to converse with ease. During their conversation, Zich suddenly shifted his gaze towards the door.
“Come in.” Zich raised his voice. It was a familiar situation. Likewise, Lyla also shifted her attention towards the door.
“Please excuse me.” Hans carefully opened the door and went in. From behind, Snoc came in with Nowem. As he did with Lyla, Zich had sensed both of their presences and let them in.
“What are you here for?”
“We wanted to help the people with the city’s reconstruction. But before we do that, we wanted to get permission from you, sir.”
Since they saved the city, they were being treated extremely well by the city. Even the lodging they were currently staying in was prepared by the city. However, instead of accepting these benefits as something to be expected, Hans and Snoc were grateful to the city and wanted to help with the city’s reconstruction.
“Then I will also go with you two.” Lyla got up after hearing Hans’ words. Zich also got up as well.
“I should also do some more kind acts before I leave this city.”
“…I can’t get used to you saying kind acts at all.”
“It’s my business.” Zich shrugged his shoulders.
“Ah, Ms. Lyla, I have something to tell you.” Hans moved closer to Lyla. “Since everything was so hectic, I wasn’t able to give this back to you.”
Hans took out the ring that Lyla gave him when they were in the ancient ruins. “Thank you.”
Lyla accepted the ring.
“Did you also have that ring when you started gaining your memories?”
Hans and Snoc paid no attention to Zich and Lyla’s conversation. They knew it didn’t involve them, and they shouldn’t pry for information. When Zich was about to go out, his gaze landed on Estellade that Hans was holding. Since he couldn’t find a suitable scabbard, Hans had wrapped a cloth around it.
Zich looked down at his finger. He looked at the finger that used to have the Key That Distorts Destiny in it.
“Hand Estellade over to me.”
“Yes?” Hans tilted his head in confusion.
Lyla was surprised and said out loud, “What’s happening? It’s strange that you would want to hold Estellade.”
“The reason why I was able to hold it might be because of the Key That Distorts Destiny that used to be in my hand. I’m trying to make sure that’s the reason.”
“The Key That Distorts Destiny…”
It was the object that used to be in Zich’s finger and was now part of the sword that looked like a tree branch. And Zich’s current sword had a close connection with Estellade.
‘Yeah, it definitely makes sense that Zich was able to hold Estellade because of the object in his finger.’ Lyla still could not understand how Zich was able to pull out Estellade.
“Sir, it’s right here.” Hans took off the cloth and pointed Estellade’s hilt towards Zich.
“…Pweh!” Zich let out a big breath as if he was performing an important ritual.
‘Does he hate it that much?’
Lyla, Hans, and Snoc could not understand why Zich hated holding Estellade that much. However, Zich didn’t care about their thoughts at all. Zich grabbed Estellade by the hilt and put pressure on it.
“…You can hold it.”
“…Sir, you can hold it.”
“…Sir, it works.”
Zich stared at Estellade with an inexplicable expression on his face. He let out a sigh and dropped Estellade to the ground. “…As expected, this thing is definitely broken. Then there’s no way I would be able to hold it. I’m sure that anyone can actually hold it.”
Lyla spat, “Stop saying ridiculous things.”
“It’s a holy sword. Look at this, at least I won’t be able to hol…”
Everyone became quiet as Lyla was also able to hold up the sword with ease.
“…I’m okay. I have Nowem.”
In the silence, only Snoc’s words rang out sadly between them.
* * *
Even though they had lengthened their stay in the city to help with the reconstruction, they were not able to stay any longer. When all the debris and major destruction were cleaned up and new buildings were about to be built, Zich and his companions decided to leave Violuwin.
“It’s so regretful to hear that you’re leaving so soon.” The mayor of the city came out to say his farewells. He had a very stylish mustache, and while paying no attention to his high position, he humbly said his farewells. Zich and his companions were heroes who had stopped the city’s collapse. Moreover, nobody was able to forget Zich’s explosive strength—this was enough to make the mayor bend down in humility.
“We already received so much in our stay in the city. On the other hand, I feel sorry that we couldn't help with the city’s reconstruction a bit more.”
“No, you shouldn’t feel sorry! All of you saved the city from destruction and even stayed behind to help with the reconstruction. We were the ones who received more than enough!”
Zich and the mayor exchanged words of humility. Zich ignored Lyla’s bewildered gaze from behind him and didn’t erase the smile from his face. And like this, Zich and his companions left the city. However, unlike Zich and his companions who were leaving the city, the people in Violuwin had to worry about their livelihoods. Even though it was fortunate that the city didn’t collapse, Violuwin’s future as a tourist site was very worrisome.
Who the hell would come to see the destruction and devastation of collapsed buildings and roads? Moreover, several places that were major tourist sites were also destroyed, and the mayor was not sure if they could even be reconstructed. They needed a new way to bring in tourists.
Then a person suggested to the mayor, “Does it have to be something physical? Why don’t we try selling stories?”
“Yes, sir. Even though a terrifying nightmare came upon this city, there were heroes who saved us all.”
The mayor and everyone in the meeting paid close attention to the speaker’s words.
“A city captured by monsters and a mysterious evil group. People’s destinies looked as fragile as a candlelight in front of a wind. Four heroes suddenly appeared in people’s time of doom. Isn’t this just like a story from a novel?”
“Explain your plan in detail.”
“Let’s first organize the story about our four heroes. We don’t even need to exaggerate their stories. Just saying what we heard and experienced would be touching enough. And if we do try to exaggerate, even our truths might be dismissed as lies. Then, after we agree on one story, we spread it to our surroundings.”
“Hmmm. And then?”
“We mark the areas where they fought and set up monuments to write down what they did. Putting up statues in the city would also be a good idea.”
“Let’s leave several of our devastated areas as they are to show what happened in our city and further support their accomplishments.”
“Hmm.” The mayor fell into deep thought, but he thought this plan was a good method to increase tourism. “What do other people think?”
“Won’t it be all right?”
“Even though it’s a bit uncomfortable that we are using the city’s painful history as a means for tourism, I think it’s a good plan.”
“We have to do what we can to help the city. I think it’s a good idea to at least try this.”
Other people also supported this plan. Likewise, the mayor’s heart was also skewed towards making this plan happen.
In the end, the mayor made his final decision. “Since we’ll be able to spread the accomplishments of those who helped us, we can probably make up some of the debt we owe them. Are there any other ideas that all of you can think of right now?”
“Why don’t we make a nickname for each of our heroes according to their characteristics? That’ll help people remember them better.”
“Well, we first call all of them heroes, and why don’t we add a modifier in front of that? For things like this, it’s easier to remember if you make it simple. For example…” The person who spoke up pondered for a while and then said, “We can give Mr. Snoc the title, ‘Earth Hero’ since he controls the earth, and since Ms. Lyla is skilled at using magic, we can give her the title, ‘Magic Hero.’ For the remaining two…”
The speaker tapped his finger on the table. “Since Mr. Hans uses a sword full of light, let’s call him the ‘Sun Hero,’ and since Mr. Zich showed us an overwhelming display of strength, why don’t we call him the ‘Strength Hero’?”
“That’s not bad.” The mayor nodded. “I don’t think we have to continue this meeting any longer. Let’s immediately execute this plan to make them into heroes and use our story to get more tourists to come to our city.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter