Chapter 37:

Bonus Chapter: What Goes Around Comes Around

Half-Paid Heroes

---- Author's Note ----

I'm not sure if anyone remembers me after a year of inactivity, those who haven't seen me while I'm updating yet, howdy! The name's Chesarka. My claim to fame here seems to be One Wish They Never Wanted, but you can make your own decisions if you read my work for yourself.

To be honest, my inactivity can be blamed on real life and my WordPress base of operations, the Animanga Spellbook. I want to use Heart Hope as a mascot for the Spellbook someday, but it's hard to say when exactly that would happen, if ever.

After the Shield Hero and Goblin Slayer kerfuffle as of late, I keep remembering I wrote a similar subplot in this story and feel guilty about it, so I rewrote some of the offending chapter (Confronting the Past). However, in doing so, I changed the path of this story entirely, so pay attention to what's changed if you've already read it.

I probably won't be writing at the speed I used to anymore, but I think I'll be able to wrap this story up before I fade into obscurity again. No promises though - I've changed a lot in the past year, so this story doesn't quite reflect me or my way of thinking anymore.

...well, I already had part of a chapter written up before my absence and I don't think I have much more to say, so to thank you for your patience, here's more about Kirikagura.


For the most part, Akihisa was an ordinary person, with the exception of being somewhat gifted at whatever he put his skills towards and being rich. Therefore, he tried politics (where he met the eventual Governor General) before switching to anthropology.

It was at this time he met a certain Takahiro Odagaki, who was his professor at the time, and as part of his final project Odagaki, Kirikagura and some other students took a trip to Hokkaido to study the Ainu culture. One night when Kirikagura was meant to be sleeping, he snuck out of his hotel room...and witnessed a miracle.

The stars came down upon the earth and the ground rumbled under Kirikagura's feet. For some reason, he was compelled to run towards the earthquake's source and not run for cover.
He peered into a crevasse that had appeared close to the hotel and found the woman who would become the predecessor to the Hearts, although he never could understand her or learn her name. 

Even witnessing the miracle meant he was destined to a path of magic sooner or later.

He wandered back to the hotel and into bed, believing himself to be in a dream...
Once Kirikagura got out of university, he took a trip to the desert expanses of a certain country which would eventually become the base of operations for his Company. 

Unfortunately, he became very lost and stumbled upon a secret lake...up to and including falling in, fully clothed.

However, it was the moment Kirikagura began to regain his breath that the magic in the world was unleashed in momentous invisible ripples, morphing the water into a pool of solid objects that weren't ideal for swallowing - bracelets, watches and an assortment of other accessories.

Eventually, all the items fell off him and he was left kneeling on them in disbelief. For the first time, magenta magic poured out of his orifices, leaving him gasping for breath.


That night, the isodors of the world remembered their main cause, having felt the power course through their veins and split open their tongues for the first time in years. Their purpose on this earth was to chase down and devour magic, no matter how latent...

To give it a proper analogy, isodors thought of magic like humans think of sugar or salt - it mightn't have been entirely necessary and could even be detrimental to the consumer, but it was still tasty enough to chase down, over and over. Also like sugar or salt, isodors didn't think eating magic in its pure form was particularly nice, so they ate what contained the magic, which in most cases amounted to a human or something else masquerading as one. 

Basically, the day Kirikagura awoke the world to magic - paying the price by shouldering the ability to "unlock life itself" - he inadvertently made targets of everything with magic potential that was housed on Earth at the time...

...and yet the isodors were happy enough to beat the humans using their own trappings. For one thing, Central, with everything it held and promised, was made for the benefit of isodors


Half-Paid Heroes