51: The hero and the hero


We arrived at the town of Kerkia around noon the next day.
As a town in the agricultural zone, it was a bigger one, had an outer wall and was collecting taxes from villages in various places.
Besides agricultural crops, items made in town are brought in and traded. Also materials from gutted demons.
For that purpose, a flourishing point of contact for trading companies was established.

For the time being we headed for an inn.
We chose the more expensive one between the two in this town.


When we entered, it looked like a common inn.
The ground floor is a tavern while the upper floor acts as an accommodation facility.

I accompanied Celica, Minya and Lapisia and headed for the counter.
Then, the gazes of the customers gathered. Especially around Celica's chest and around Minya's thighs.
-- They became stronger and more beautiful when I upgraded their classes. It should be obvious that they'll draw attention.

Well, we ignore the harmless gazes and I ask for a room at the counter while showing the "Proof of Hero".
"Four people, do you have a vacant room?"
"Ah! Hero-sama! Yes, our best room is vacant. Please take it!"
The owner doesn't take any money in advance, picks up a key and tries to guide us to the room.


Just when I thought that he might want to speak to me, a voice rose from the corner of the room.
"Hey! What's this supposed to mean? Didn't you give the best room to me?"
There was a middle-aged man with sharp eyes standing there.
His comrades who are sitting with him also have bad expressions in their eyes. There is a muscular giant and a shady looking man with long hair.

I knew it without being told.
This seems to be the hero of the neighboring country.

I looked at the assumed hero with "Truth Sight".
--------------------
[Status]
Name: Eddie (Eduardo)
Gender: Male
Age: 41
Race: Human
Job: Pleasure Cutthroat
Class: Warrior Lv 45
Attributes: "Wind"

Attack strength: 321
Defense strength: 283
Vitality: 752
Mental strength: 192

[Data]
Has a bounty on his head in the neighboring country. Value: 60 big gold coins
--------------------
Weak.
Or rather, what's "Pleasure Cutthroat"?
Does such a job exist?
He's not even a person anymore.

But it's amazing. 60 big gold coins. That's about 6 million yen.
The others also didn't look like more than idiots though.


I approach Eddie.
Eddie is coming towards me as well.

"Yo. Are you this country's hero? With such a thin body-- *Gufu!*"
I straightforward bumped into Eddie.
Eddie is blown away and hits the wall.

Eddie shouts while holding his nose.
"Bastard! What are you doing!?"
"Ah, sorry. I thought you were garbage."
"Wh, what was that! Who do you think I am, I'm a hero!"
"Ooh. Do you have any evidence?"
"Taste this... Look at it in astonishment!"


Eddie rummaged through his pocket and took out a round medal.
The appearance certainly resembles the "Proof of Hero"-medal.
When I looked at it with "Truth Sight", it came out as "Proof of Hero (Fake)".

"How's this, are you giving up? I'll forgive you if you leave the women behind."
"I'm also a hero though."
That said, I took out the "Proof of Hero (Genuine)" from my chest hidden under my clothes.

But Eddie still threw curses at me.
"Whether you're a hero or not, it doesn't matter! Won't this become a problem between the countries?"
"I wonder about that. Only if you'd be a real hero"
"What!"

I spoke while meddling around with the "Proof of Hero".
"I only noticed recently, but when you touch the outer perimeter of the medal--"
Suddenly, the surroundings became bright.

"Uwa, what's that!?" "It's as bright as outside" "What's going on!?"
The other guests who were in the bar were making noises.

This was a power of the [Proof of Hero].
A mechanism like a flashlight that illuminates about 10 meters around yourself.
It seems to be useful during dungeon explorations and the like when you do not have a torch.


"If it's a real 'Proof of Hero', you can do it too of course, but can your 'Proof of Hero' really do that?"
"Ugh... m, mine is from a neighboring country, so..."
"Heh? Aren't all of them supposed to be the same, no matter the country? Isn't it strange that a 'Cutthroat' with a bounty on his head has one in the first place? Isn't that right, Eduardo?"

The color in Eddie's eyes changes.
"Wha, what was that! --Hey, you guys, do it!"
"Yeah!" "Leave it to me!"
The giant and the guy with the long hair are standing up.

I looked behind me and said.
"Right... Celica, you take the giant, and I leave the guy with the long hair to you, Minya. Beat them up but don't kill them."
"Yes!" "Understood"
Celica unsheathes her slender sword and Minya takes her kitchen knives into her hands.
They give off the atmosphere of beautiful war maidens.


The guy with the long hair holds a dagger and speaks.
"You're cute, how old are you? I'll be kind to you!"
"No need"

Minya moved. Fast like the wind. Her Miko clothes are fluttering.

*kinn!*

A sound is emitted when the dagger and kitchen knife collide.
"He, if it's just thi... what!"
While she locks the dagger with her right kitchen knife, her left kitchen knife aims for his side.

The guy seemed to panic and jumped backward while his hair was swinging.
However, Minya doesn't let him gain any distance.

She kicks the floor in pursuit.
She unleashes a series of dance-like attacks.

The dagger of the long hair guy is emitting sparks while he defends against the kitchen knives, but he was unable to evade the supple kicks.
Minya's thin foot hits his stomach.
"*Gufu!*"
He falls to his knees and vomits.
"Dirty"

*goh*
The handle of the kitchen knife struck against his head.
"*nga!*"
The guy with the long hair fell forward with his face ahead into his own vomit.

She sheathed her kitchen knives and turns away in disinterest. Her beautiful posture is like a painting.
Her cat ears still stayed attentive.


Celica was facing the huge man.
The man lets the muscles of his upper body swell and swings his thick club.
Celica doesn't receive it but skillfully misdirects it with her slanted sword.

She swings her blond hair and nimbly thrusts with half her strength.
She gives a shallow wound to the huge man's body.

The big man laughs while blood is running along his tanned skin.
"Weak weak! I'll look forward to how long you can evade!"
"You seem to be sturdy, I'm relieved-- *Ha!*"
Unlike before, she releases a stab with her whole body strength.

The man doesn't evade but uses the club as a shield.

*goss!*, with a dull sound, the sword penetrates the club.

However, the huge man laughs sneeringly while he lets go of the club and jumps forward.
"Naive, Ojou-chan! You'll pay with your huge breasts for pointing your sword against the hero party!"
He approaches like a two meter flesh wall as if he tries to crush into her.

The corners of Celica's mouth are tilting upwards, letting out a sudden smile.
"Keika-sama is the only one who may touch me"

Celica holds her slender sword that still pierces the club at her waist.

Then she quickly thrusts it outward.
--"Gale Sting"!

*doonn!*
Blown off by a mass of wind, the huge man is slapped into the wall.
At the same time, the club detaches from the sword and hits his head with a *goss*
"*gugaa*"
The huge man falls with his eyes ahead onto the floor.

Celica speaks as her breasts are warping when she waves her slender sword to clear it from the blood.
"You still have lots to learn"


While watching them fight, I was impressed how strong they have grown.
I approach the fake hero Eduardo in front of me.
Eddie was freaked out.

"I, if you do something to me, the neighboring country won't keep silen--*gua!*"
I hit the armor where it covers Eddie's stomach.
The armor dents in the shape of my fist.
Foam spouts out of his mouth while his limbs are stretching.

I clap my hands to remove the dust and speak to the surrounding group.
"Someone, call the knight order or the guards. This impostor lied about being a hero."
"I already called them! They'll come soon!"

The tavern is filled with noise of screams and cheers.
"Amazing!" "So they were impostors!" "Shit, they stole my money" "At home, my daughter, my daughter...!" "That's a real hero for you" "So cool..."


I can hear voices of heartfelt trust.
I might be able to find some believers if it's now, but before that, knights clad in armor entered under the sound of many footsteps.

The captain who was taking command saw me and saluted.
"Th, this is, Hero-sama! Thank you very much for defeating the villains!"
"That man over there called Eddie is a cutthroat with a bounty on his head in the neighboring country. Absolutely don't let him escape."
"Yes! I'll arrange for that immediately!"


The false hero party was tied up and taken away.
The captain came to my side and spoke.
"Hero-sama, may I consult with you about something?"
"What is it?"
"We prepared counter-measures against the dragon but they relied on the support of the fake hero."
"I see. That's why he behaved so self-importantly... You have to check properly"
I told him what the real thing can do while I showed the "Proof of Hero" to him.

The captain lowered his head apologetically.
"I don't know how to face you... but, it's impossible for us to meet the dragon alone and we needed the power of a hero to have a discussion"
"I see. ...Then, I'll do something about it"
"Re, really, Hero-sama? Thank you very much! Please instruct us in any way you want!


Hmm, I thought with my arms folded.
What should I do.
"Yeah. First, gather intelligence on the dragon. Then, since the damages seem quite severe, divide Eddie's bounty among the villages for reconstruction or at least for consolation."

"Oh...! How benevolent, to care about the citizens without any selfish desires! That's a real hero...--Understood. I'll instruct the knight order to complete the tasks even at the cost of their lives!"
The captain wiped the corners of his eyes with his fingertips. It seems he was moved to tears.


-- To be frank, giving out the money is also a means of making them erect the bronze statues and to let my name take root for many years to come...
My heart hurts a little, but I have to do this to gather believers and become a god.

"Well, give your best. Now, I got a personal request from the king to subjugate Leo. Please let me know if you come across any information."
"I understand. I'll also tell the others."
The captain immediately gave out the instructions to the members of the knight order.


"I thought about that before, but don't you have diplomatic relations with the country to the west? Why didn't you inquire them?"
"I'm sorry. The country in the west, the Fabrica Kingdom is extremely strong and defeated the Demon Lord's army many times over. So we believed the hero unconditionally if he comes from there."
"Strong?"
"Yes, industries are thriving and construction and blacksmithing technologies are very advanced."
"I see. I'd like to go there once. ...But for now I have to settle the matters of the dragon and Leo first."

After that, I continued to talked with the captain and got some information.
About the villages' locations, the roads and the geography around here.


--When.
As we were talking, suddenly one of the knights came running.
After he bowed when he saw me, he reports to the captain.
"It is said that demons are fighting nearby the town. It might not be related to the dragon or the hero, but I report just in case"
The captain was pondering but I thought it might be worthwhile.

"Where is it? I'll go"
"Yes, Hero-sama! It's northwest of the town"
"Northwest... the foot of Green Mountain lies in that direction"
"Yes! Shall I guide you?"
"No, it's fine. Prepare hors--Boo Horses"


I called into the bar.
"Celica, Minya, Lapisia. We'll go"
"""Yes"""
We mounted the Boo Horses and headed northwest.