We continue to push the rotating column.
It's been a week already.
What the hell is the dark elf queen thinking?
What is all this work for in the first place?
Questions kept filling my head and I finally reached my limit.
"I'm done, this doesn't make any sense!"
"If Zig is stopping stop, then so am I☆ I'm exhausted～"
"Are you sure...? I thought the only way to get information was to keep this going."
"I can't spend any more time playing that woman's games. It's doubtful she has any information about Rudra. She's a liar."
I dropped to the floor and vented my frustration.
Almost immediately, the door to the room opened.
It was the Queen who entered, a smile on her face.
"You have fulfilled all my requirements. Now, as promised, I will give you information about Rudra."
"It's about time."
I stood up and took a deep breath.
Honestly, I can't believe I wasted my time. But that doesn't matter, this bad experience will disappear once I get the information I seek.
We move into the audience chamber and the queen sits on her throne.
"You were surprisingly steadfast. Most people give up after the first day."
"Hmph, you must feel very satisfied, making the hero twirl a pointless column for a week."
"Oh, on the contrary, it did serve a purpose. You guys used that device to grind flour. Can you imagine it? Making delicious bread with flour that was ground by the elf hero."
Damn, you're a crazy bitch.
There's no reason to do that with such a big device.
In any case, she forced us to do something we had no business doing
I want to kill her. I want to kill this woman.
My hand unconsciously reaches for the hilt of my sword.
Aide's voice brought me to my senses.
We have to get the information and get out of here.
"So, tell me what you know about Rudra."
"General Gio. Tell him about the fort."
"Yes, Your Majesty."
The General, who had been at the Queen's side, took a step forward.
"Currently, in the western mountains, the Demon King Rudra's warriors are using the ruins as a fortress. Their goal is probably to advance into our country. Her Majesty has given orders to wipe them out immediately."
"Advance!? I hadn't heard that information in Petardaus!"
"Of course you hadn't. I recently learned of Rudra's existence myself. It seems he is quite famous beyond the mountains, but not enough for his name to reach these lands. This information caught me off guard."
The Queen puts her hand to her forehead and lets out a sigh.
At that moment an idea crossed my mind.
I thought that if I could take down the fort, I would become a hero in the eyes of many.
To be honest, the travel funds given by the government are not enough.
If I play an active role here and get a big reward, I will be able to travel elegantly.
"I will take care of them and-"
"Don't worry, Zig-Dono. The Manyu Brigade has already reclaimed the fort, and my army is already on its way.
Manyu Brigade... Not you again.
You keep getting in my way again and again.
I was so angry that I was about to cry.
"I will have to give the Manyu Brigade a handsome reward. They were able to conquer the Dark Passage and eliminate the demons in the fortress. I should bestow upon them the title of heroes."
"With all due respect, Your Majesty, I think it is too early to bestow something like that upon them. I have no doubt that each of their exploits have been accomplished flawlessly, but certain conditions must still be met before they can be heroes of our country."
"If I act on those standards, other countries might take them away. 'Resting on your laurels is a sign of incompetence.' I will miss a great opportunity if I don't act fast."
"Your Majesty, please show a little more restraint."
Are you planning to turn those guys into heroes?
That jerk who stole Monica and took credit for defeating the evil dragon.
He's a mere human.
"Zig-Dono, there's still time for you to head to the fort. The soldiers who were captured by the demons might have some information about Rudra."
"...I see. Alright, I'll head out."
We arrived at the fort in the mountain range.
Jornen's army has already arrived and we enter without any problems.
One by one, the knights join the general ahead of us.
"My lord, there are several demons in the dungeon."
"Hm. Keep trying to get information out of them."
"I have a report. There are twenty-three prisoners, all of them unharmed and in good health."
"That's good news. And where is the Manyu Brigade?"
"Gio-Sama, I have something important to report to you!"
"The Manyu Brigade defeated Arken, one of the demon king's three generals. And he left here a few days before we arrived."
The general grabbed the knight's chest and gave him a look of astonishment, but he quickly released him and composed himself.
"I don't know how I'm going to report this to Her Majesty. After all, she was right, and we can't predict their movements either. How can someone leave without receiving a reward?"
"Gio-Sama, The Manyu Brigade left a message for you."
"I'll look at it now, where is it?"
The knight leads me to the center of the fortress.
There are countless scars on the floor from the fierce battle that took place there.
Two creatures appear before us.
Those... They're two beasts, aren't they?
The metallic blue bird emits a light.
Toru appears in front of us.
I quickly drew my sword and slashed at him.
However, nothing happened, and the sword cut through the air.
"Tch, it's an illusion."
"Hello General Gio, it's been a while, well, not really. As you can see, the Demon King's men have been neutralized. I'm sure the soldiers who were captured by them have already recovered. As for my reward, I'm going to do without it. I'm not someone who likes to get titles or receive anything in return for my deeds."
From time to time, the man in the blurred silhouette scratched his cheek, embarrassed.
It's inexplicably irritating.
It's a face that makes me sick to my stomach just looking at it.
Aide, who was next to me, clenched his fists as he trembled,
A strong murderous spirit emanated from Aide.
There was a chilling and evil presence seeping from his sword and armor.
Aide, just who the hell are you?
"I'm going to head west, I have to do something about this Demon King. I can't guarantee anything though, so don't get your hopes up. Also, there's a research group that might come to visit you, so please don't turn them down, just listen to them."
Toru disappears at the same time saying; "take care of them."
The bird and the snake-like beast flew off to the west.
"If we can contact that research team, or any of those people, there is a high possibility of us cooperating with the Manyu Brigade in the future. Their abilities in taking down demonic fortresses, healing dying soldiers and long distance communication would be beneficial to our nation... I must inform Her Majesty immediately."
The general called the knight and asked him to deliver a message in a whisper.
It seems he doesn't want us to hear what he has to say.
The knight mounted a wyvern and flew away.
"So what are you going to do now?"
"We will gather information about Rudra and then head west. We need to get to Rudra as soon as possible."
"Well, then, be careful. Beyond the mountain range is a land full of ruffians, and the demons that arise are more powerful. Don't forget that our ancestors were driven from the center of the continent."
"Do you believe in the old fairy tales?"
"Fairy tales also happen to be facts. I don't know how they tell these stories in Petardaus, but you should still be careful."
Many years ago, elves and dark elves once lived side by side in the heart of the continent.
But a calamity struck them and those who survived fled to distant lands.
In neither country has it been said what the calamity was.
Something disastrous must have happened to force them to flee the true holy land, even if the nature of said disaster has been forgotten.
Some still insist that the true holy land in the center be recovered, but most people are satisfied with the present form and have completely lost interest.
Celtina, who had remained silent, spoke up.
"Regardless of whether or not we can defeat the Demon King, if we get to take back the true holy land, we can become heroes☆"
"How long do you think it will take to reach the center from here? Defeating Rudra without going that far would be enough of an achievement."
"That's also true☆"
I then looked at Aide.
".....The center of the continent."
"Are you interested, Aide?"
"No, I'm just wondering what's over there."
"I've heard that many demons of the ancient demon king dwell there, and there are also many powerful relics. From my point of view, I can live a peaceful life without having to enter that place."
I felt that Aide's tone of voice had changed.
It was as if his calm voice was laced with amusement.
"I have work to do, so this is where we part. I'd like to say goodbye to you, so please call me before you leave."
The General walked into the building.
So Rudra is in the west... I will not let them take him from me.
I am the hero, the one chosen to defeat the demon king.