By using Nei as a decoy, I managed to escape safely, and returned to the royal capital of Balseille.
But what awaited there was a deadly humiliation.
"I will congratulate you on getting the sacred sword. You have done well. However, what was that atrocity that happened in Northstar? With the demons right in front of you, you abandoned one of your companions and fled, allowing great destruction to be fall the city."
"If you plan to make an excuse after that, you'll be delighted to hear what comes next. After you escaped from the demons, a party of adventurers called the Manyu brigade defeated them without batting an eye."
"The Manyu Brigade?! How come they were there?!"
As I was about to stand up, the knights guarding the king put their hands on their swords.
I quickly knelt down again.
I almost grabbed the king by the chest and I wouldn't have let go until he gave me more information.
Damn Manyu Brigade.
They must have killed the demon after Nei weakened it.
They stole my prey.
They have interfered everywhere I've gone, and now they are following me.
I will never forgive them. Never, never, never, never.
Killing them will not be enough to satiate my anger.
You've got to be fucking kidding me.
"Your Majesty, please give me a chance."
"Good. You're still in the process of growing, and you're still the hero. I'll give you another chance to make up for your mistakes."
"Aah! Thank you for having such a noble heart!"
I'm feeling nauseous from the things I just said.
If you weren't the king, I would have trampled you underfoot and murdered you by now you damned old fool.
I wonder if you will beg for your life as those adventurers did in that guild.
The king bowed and looked up.
"I have a special task for you, I expect you to fulfill it."
"I will give my best!"
An elven woman entered the room.
She wore a collar around her neck, a sign of slavery.
She is so beautiful that I can't stop looking at her.
"This is an elf I recently acquired. She's very beautiful, isn't she? I spent a lot of money for her."
"I'd like to have another one just like her, but I don't want to have to pay for it. Your mission is to go to the elven village in the forest of Grigit."
"Would you like me to capture one?"
The king did not answer, only smiled.
There is nothing more to say.
I can understand your intentions without needing you to say anything more.
So capturing an elf, huh... Well, I want one too.
Since they are a rare species, their numbers should be few.
If there is only one in the village, I will keep it instead of giving it to the king.
The question is how to enter the elves' village.
It is an exclusive place that does not allow the entrance of humans.
Even the hero would not be invited easily.
I have to figure out a way to get in by any means necessary.
In the past, elves have cooperated with heroes many times.
They are devoted to them, so the story goes.
This will be too easy... I can already imagine having my beautiful elf slave.
"After you bring me the elf, your second task will be to defeat one of the six demon generals, Roiz. Can you do it?"
"Yes! I definitely will!"
"Very well. The next time we meet will be at the conference of nations in the royal capital of Grigit. There you will hand over my elf, and prepare to be publicly named a hero."
I bowed to the king and left the place.
Inside me the flames of anger burned.
You don't know how much I want to decapitate you, you damned old man.
I've already lost count of the times I've murdered you in my imagination.
You have the reputation of being a foolish king among the commoners, and they are absolutely right.
Perhaps this country will not exist before long.
This is where I was born and raised.
But I'll get the hell out of here once I'm a hero. No matter the fate, as long as I can do what I want.
I will continue to do this work a little longer.
I don't like the idea of my reputation continuing to decline.
On the way to the elven village, I heard many rumors about the Manyu Brigade.
"Saved five cities in a single day."
"He has a great sacred sword."
"The slave he has is a very beautiful woman."
"He defeated one of the demon king's generals with a single blow!"
"They have a fairy with them."
"The leader is very handsome."
"The fluffy animal with them is so cute!"
"The real heroes are the Manyu Brigade."
"It seems that there is a party in Balseille that wants to steal your credit."
Something inside me was about to break.
But I tried my best to ignore them.
These are all just rumors.
I know I am the real hero, and it will soon become clear who is the fake between the two parties.
I think I've been too impatient with my success so far.
The idea that I am the hero blinded me, and I didn't act the way I should have.
No wonder I have failed at everything.
Let's take a moment to remember who I used to be. When Toru was still in my party.
"That's the land of the elves?"
"That's what they say."
"That's a very nice tower."
We observed the forest from a tower in a nearby village.
Indeed, it is a beautiful tower.
Come to think of it, I heard somewhere that that tower was an unexplored ruin.
If we manage to get in, we could get our hands on some valuable relics.
If I present the relics to the royal family together with an elf… Fufu....
I'll get into that tower any way I can.
If I say I'm the hero, surely the elves will be happy to invite me in, even if some show reluctance.
The Demon King is a common enemy.
It is impossible not to cooperate with the hero.
Let's go to the village.
An explosion sends me flying through the air and I fall face first to the ground.
Pfft, my mouth is full of dirt.
Who are those that dare to attack the hero?
I will make them regret it.
"Are you all right, Sain!?"
"I will heal you quickly."
"Don't worry about me. Worry about where the attack is coming from."
I drew the sacred sword and prepared for battle.
However, it is very difficult to see in the middle of the forest.
The enemy is cleverly hiding their presence.
"Go back the way you came, or you'll regret it."
An elf with braided hair appeared out of nowhere.
Her appearance is as beautiful as the Elf I saw in the palace.
How lucky I am to have found one so quickly.
"You may not know this yet, but I am Sain, the hero. I have come here to ask for your help."
The elf's reaction was abrupt.
I laughed inside.
So you're still afraid of the Demon King. It's okay... Just do as I say and you won't die.
Come and beg me to come into your village and help you.
In return, I want treasures and all the elven women they have.
An arrow was shot in front of me as I was about to step forward.
"I don't care. It may be that in the past the elves cooperated with the former heroes, but we have decided that this village will not participate in any way in defeating the Demon King."
"Do you think we don't know what the humans' intentions are these days? We are sick and tired of their never-ending desire to kidnap us and turn us into slaves for their filthy kind."
"You have no idea what you're talking about."
"I'm not interested in your excuses. We only trust the Manyu Brigade."
When I heard that name, my blood began to boil.
They are getting in my way again.
Why do I have to keep hearing their name wherever I go?
I will do my best to get into that village.
"That expression - is that your true nature? I almost believed you when you said you wanted to talk, but the fact that you didn't lower your sword made me distrust you."
"Shut up! You'll be my fucking slave!"
Use the eye of seduction on the elf.
《Warning: the eye of seduction has no effect on users who have a higher level than the skill holder》.
What?! That warning again?!
Why is everyone's level higher than mine lately?!
"Lisa! Soara! We're going to invade the village!"
"Are you sure this is a good idea?"
I walked ahead into the forest while Lisa and Soara supported me from behind.
I blocked the arrows with my sword as I tried to close the gap between me and the elf.
Someone who uses a lot of ranged attacks is weak against melee, and once you cut the distance, there's nothing they can do.
Next, I have to incapacitate this woman, even if it means hurting her.
Now that my reputation with the king is at stake, I must do what it takes to get it back.
The wind rages around the elf's body and sends me flying backwards with a great amount of force.
I managed to land on the ground unharmed.
The elf looked at me with condescending eyes in the center of a strong whirlwind.
Is it spiritual magic?
I forgot that elves have powerful magic.
To counter his magical power, Lisa unleashes her fire magic.
An invisible wall counteracted the fire.
I thought I heard a man's voice somewhere.
They also possess a magic shield.
If my memory serves me correctly, there is a scroll that grants you the ability to prevent any kind of magic.
Is it possible for elves to have such scrolls?
"Haven't you noticed yet? You guys are already surrounded."
I tensed and used my assessment skill to look around.
There were elves lurking in the trees, in the shadows, on the ground, everywhere.
Countless arrowheads are directed at me.
At what point did this happen...?
"You said you were the hero, so I'll give you a chance to leave alive. But this is not to say that the elves can't kill the hero. I just can't bear the thought of killing friends and fellow members of the Mayu Brigade. Set foot on these lands again, and you will not leave here alive."
We retreated with a lot of arrows pointing at us.
It was humiliating.
I can't believe I lost to mere elves.
I could hear the victory cries of the elves in the distance.