Chapter 31:

The Hero and the Hypocrite [Start of Vol 2]

The Consequence of Saving the World

It took some time, but I was beginning to get used to the city breeze’s kiss on my skin. Sure, its scent couldn’t beat the all-natural Breven air, but I couldn’t stay a country bumpkin forever, right?
Bookmark here

My sandals were also starting to get familiar with the cobblestone road, maybe even too familiar. Yesterday when I checked, the soles were starting to get worn from all the running I have been doing. Maybe I should buy myself a new pair of shoes?Bookmark here

On second thought—bad idea. Sereya would kill me if she found out that I’ve been sneaking out of the infirmary for my morning jogs. Once was enough; I didn’t want my other ear to get nagged to kingdom come as well.Bookmark here

Jogging was by no means fun, nor was it exhilarating by any stretch of the imagination—far from it. Still, it was better than lying in bed twenty-four-seven. Even the doctor said that I needed a bit of light exercise—five minutes to be precise. Over the course of these past two weeks, those five minutes turned into sixty. I definitely could go on longer, but I had to be back before the nurses’ morning shift began.Bookmark here

Somehow along my routinely runs, I discovered a way to determine how much time I had left before the nurses arrive. If the edge of the sun touched the huge bell tower over at city square, it meant that I had about ten minutes left. Should the bell ring, it meant that I needed to fake an “incident” in the toilet as an excuse for not being in bed when the nurses show up.Bookmark here

Out of sheer luck, the route that I used always had the bell tower in the corner of my eyes, except for one empty alleyway. However, this time around, as I was about to enter this shady backstreet, I realised I wasn’t alone.Bookmark here

Was that a couple making out early in the morning?Bookmark here

It was hard to tell as the man’s back was facing me, shielding his partner from my sight. Still, I could see the tips of her long hair jutting out of his figure. Bookmark here

City people were just so reprehensible, it was sickening. You built so many hotels and inns just so that you could get frisky on the streets? Was it so hard to have—I don’t know—decency?Bookmark here

I wasn’t going to let these two shameless losers interrupt my morning jog. Instead, I doubled down on my usual route, making my footsteps extra loud as if to announce to the world, “Hey, you’re not the only one using this back alley!”Bookmark here

As I was about to pass by the two of them, I slowly but clearly turned my head to face them, my eyes burning the concept of “shame” into their immoral selves. It wasn’t because I was curious about their kissing techniques or anything, most definitely not!Bookmark here

That’s when I saw a flash of silver.Bookmark here

This wasn’t a couple making out—this was a robbery.Bookmark here

The man’s knife changed its target—from the girl to me. Its blade reflected whatever little sunlight that pierced through this dark alley, firing off warning signals into my mind.Bookmark here

“Gimme your mo—”Bookmark here

I didn’t let him finish. I held his wrist with my right hand, controlling the threat. At the same time, my left fist greeted his cheek with a “crack” sound as it came into contact. My left hand stung; I hope it was his jaw that cracked and not my knuckles. I was willing to bet it was the former, as evidenced by the robber going to sleep for the second time this morning.Bookmark here

Everything happened in a matter of seconds. If I was minding my own business, he’d definitely have the jump on me. Luckily, my entire attention was focused on the man. It also helped that the idea of punching him already passed through my mind several times when I thought that he was making out in public, or so I thought.Bookmark here

Above all else, this wasn’t the first time a knife suddenly found its way to my face. My first meeting with Sereya after waking up was my first tango with a knife. This guy moved like a snail compared to her.Bookmark here

“Thank you!”Bookmark here

Oh right—there was a girl here too. It was hard to get a good look at her face no thanks to her long bangs. She didn’t seem hurt or anything. Time to get on with my jo—Bookmark here

“H-He got Bruce!”Bookmark here

A voice echoed down the alleyway from behind me. I didn’t need to guess—it was the thug’s friends. Sure enough, “Bruce” had company, three of them to be exact. At the same time my eyes met theirs, they reached out for their own knives.Bookmark here

While it was true that I didn’t inherit any overpowered abilities or skills from Hanasuke—he did leave me something useful—a body in prime physical condition. I definitely couldn’t perform superhuman feats like Remus or Sereya, but I was still pretty ripped. These past two weeks of recuperating have helped me get used to my new and improved self. Those three thugs should serve as a good test of my physical abilities.Bookmark here

I took a deep breath, steeled my nerves, and high-tailed out of there.Bookmark here

“W-Why are we running?!?!” Bookmark here

The girl whose life I just saved asked a foolish question as I yanked her by her arm as we escaped. There were three thugs armed with knives! Was she seriously expecting me to fight outnumbered? Bookmark here

“Aren’t you a hero or something?!”Bookmark here

I would have choked from laughter if I wasn’t busy panting like a dog. Hero?Bookmark here

For the love of the Goddess—open your eyes woman! What made you think someone sneaking out of the hospital would be a hero?Bookmark here

I nearly died from trying to be a hero! Hanasuke killed the Demon Lord using my body, good for him. As for me, I was stuck having to deal with the aftermath, such as unkillable pricks like Remus! Hero my ass, all I wanted to do was go back home to Breven and settle down. The world could go and find a new Hero for all I care. Bookmark here

Since she wanted a hero so badly, I’ll get her a hero.Bookmark here

“HELP!!!”Bookmark here

I could see the crows scattering into the sky as my pitiful scream woke up the whole of Allantheim. As I ran towards the market with this delusional girl in tow, the peddlers setting up shop must have thought that I was a lunatic. I couldn’t care less.Bookmark here

“HELP!!! HELP!!!”Bookmark here

It was when I saw a mother shielding the eyes of her son from me, that I felt the shame start to kick in. I turned around and the thugs were nowhere in sight. I’d like to believe that I was too fast for them, but the more likely scenario would be them getting freaked out from my stunt.Bookmark here

“Listen here, girl,” I gathered my breath, “you wanna know what’s a real hero? NOT getting into trouble in the first place. Saves you time, saves you energy, saves you. YOU. Okay? Not walking into dark alleys—that should be your hero.”Bookmark here

“But you walked into the dark alley too!”Bookmark here

Oh my. I couldn’t believe that I was getting into a heated argument with a random stranger in the middle of public.Bookmark here

“Don’t walk into dark alleys ALONE. When I walked into the dark alley, there were people there. You and that guy, Bruce! So in my case, that doesn’t count!”Bookmark here

“What’s with all the commotion?” Two guards finally showed up. Bookmark here

“Nah, it’s all good, si—”Bookmark here

“This creep tried to kidnap me!”Bookmark here

HARH? This ungrateful little—you’d stoop this low just because you’re losing an argument? Bookmark here

“No! I saved her life!”Bookmark here

“Well, you’re not a hero. Hmph!” The sheer amount of garbage that left her mouth was astounding.Bookmark here

“Sir, I’m afraid you’ll have to come with us.”Bookmark here

Before I could say anything, the girl hid behind the two guards and stuck her tongue out at me! Bookmark here

“Look man, she’s making stuff up, just look at her!”Bookmark here

“He’s scaring me! Help!”Bookmark here

Ohhhh now you know how to ask for help?Bookmark here

The two guards unsheathed their swords as they approached me. I couldn’t run—all the other people nearby were just staring at me. Why didn’t they say anything? Couldn’t they see that I was being falsely accused?!Bookmark here

With each step the two guards took, I could feel the saltiness of my sweat dripping onto my lips. Just how was I supposed to get out of this?Bookmark here

Just when I thought of that, the two guards froze, backs suddenly straightened. The colour from their faces faded instantly. The conniving liar hiding behind the two of them no longer had her snickering expression. Why were they all suddenly so afraid?Bookmark here

“Someone asked for help?”Bookmark here

I turned around and the explanation became clear.Bookmark here

It was one of THE Seven Heroes—Sereya herself—the aura that she was giving off was anything but. Her bloodlust was so thick, my sweat evaporated.Bookmark here

I knew for a fact that she wasn’t angry at the guards and the girl, she was angry at me for sneaking out of the hospital.Bookmark here

A sigh escaped my mouth.Bookmark here

You wanna know what’s a real hero? NOT getting into trouble in the first place.Bookmark here

Maybe I should’ve listened to my own advice.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.