“That’s unexpected…isn’t it?” (Albert)
Albert says with a somewhat exhausted voice while fixedly staring at Kurz who sat in front of him.
“I had already heard about the human hero-dono having a tall figure and wearing a big armor, but…” (Albert)
As for the information regarding who killed the previous hero might be, it hasn’t spread.
This is the result of the Trident Principality’s Archduchess’ thorough information lockdown, but it’s not like she can completely stop information from leaking either and thus there are some pieces of information that spread to some extent.
One of those pieces of information is that the ones who personally fought the human hero were a swordsman and a tall, armored swordsman. The swordsman, who defeated the hero between either of the two, seems to be the one who took over his status.
Information regarding his identity was completely hidden, but the news that the tall armor apparently became the hero has propagated to some degree.
On that occasion, the question of whether the name of the swordsman, who accompanied the armor, wasn’t Margrave Kunugi swirled about as well, but as there was no definitive confirmation, it didn’t leave the area of simple speculation.
It was conceivable that the information Albert heard about was very likely at least a part of said pieces of information.
Kurz, the target of Albert’s gaze, doesn’t have a physique that would allow him to clad his body with such a large armor.
Even his height is around one head smaller than Renya’s. In the first place, going by the thinness of his arms and legs that peeked out from the cuffs and sleeves of his robe, there was no doubt that he should get crushed by the weight of such a big armor if he put it on.
“That armor is actually a magic craft produced by myself.” (Renya)
Renya explained as he tapped Kurz’s head, who was sitting next to him, while scattering a bright smile into the surroundings.
“It’s great that this child succeeded the hero’s powers, but…as you can see, he’s an albino with a frail body and a weakness towards sunlight. If his skin is exposed to strong sunlight for an extended period, it will become bright red and get sunburnt, causing him to develop a fever that forces him into staying in bed for a while. That’s the kind of child he is.” (Renya)
Renya smoothly provides information about the human hero, but in his mind he’s in a state of cold sweat streaming down like a waterfall.
He had received an explanation about the “Setting” related to the human hero from Frau and Emil in advance. He was given a stuffy, detailed account in their hopes that he would not making any mistakes when introducing him.
“There’s no way I could make such a child head into battle just like that, right?” (Renya)
“That’s certainly true.” (Albert)
“Since fortunately his amount of mana is off-the-chart in comparison to normal humans, I had him participate in the battle while using something like a shell that can be controlled with mana. The battle against the hero was so-to-speak something akin to a first battle for that armor and this child.” (Renya)
The entire explanation had been composed by Emil and Frau.
On top of that, the contents were checked by Mayria, adding finishing touches to it so that it wouldn’t sound unnatural as much as was possible.
This boy called Kurz is a homunculus built by Emil, using the body of the former hero, which apparently had remained in a half-eaten state, as raw material after having pulled it out from within the the black cluster which has been stuffed into the armor by Frau.
Even Emil, who should be accustomed to test subjects in not overly good condition, felt slightly sick after seeing the corpse dragged out by Frau, but there was no objection as for the quality of the material.
Of course the human faction within Renya’s party refused to be present in that place from the start, and Croire ran away quickly as well,
Only Frau was completely unperturbed, but everyone’s opinion matched up with the words “Oh well, she’s a fairy.”
The work was carried out secretly in Emil’s laboratory in the basement of Renya’s feudal lord castle, but seeing as the preparatory period was unavoidably short, it ended up becoming a workmanship leaving behind extreme dissatisfaction in Emil because she had almost no time to train her creation.
The pigments all over its body were transparent and as a result of that it was in the state of a so-called albino. More importance was put on its abilities rather than its appearance, but although it boasted abilities befitting a hero plentifully, it had a very weak constitution.
The explanation about the sunlight and so on was neither a lie nor exaggeration, but the plain truth.
“Having done that, you are…” (Albert)
“Yes, I beat that human hero.” (Kurz)
Kurz readily agrees with Albert while also lacking any kind of enthusiasm.
After groaning slightly due to that answer, Albert shook his head while sighing.
“As those are the honorable words of His Excellency the Margrave…it seems they are the truth, but it has become a story that is hard to believe in all of a sudden.” (Albert)
Seemingly incapable of arbitrarily deciding that the words of a noble from a foreign country might be completely untrue, Albert points out to Renya that there are still some questionable parts in the story, choosing his words carefully,
That surely makes sense, doesn’t it? Renya thinks in his mind without changing his expression.
Even if one might say this or that, it’s an obvious fact that the previous hero Yuuki boasted strength unsurpassed by any other human.
Being told that the boy sitting in front of Albert, who looks like an albino and moreover like a young girl, has a weak constitution as the hero is ridiculously difficult to believe.
Although even Renya was well aware of that fact, he has no other option but to continue insisting on it for now.
That’s because the words of Renya’s group should eventually establish themselves as truth as long as it’s not exposed which parts of their statements are actually true.
“Do you doubt them?” (Kurz)
The words directed towards Albert, who was brooding while groaning, chosen by Kurz had a sound quality that felt sweet and gooey like honey.
As if taken aback by that voice, Albert shifts his eyes towards Kurz, and Renya, who sat next to Kurz, feels a shudder travel down his spine.
Renya hasn’t had much to do with this boy called Kurz until this point in time.
Speaking of the only time he got involved with him; it was when Renya was half-forcefully dragged to Emil’s laboratory for a visit after Kurz’s exterior had been finished. It was around that time that he saw Kurz floating inside a transparent cylinder filled with a liquid, which was called a cultivation tube.
The black mass gushed out into the cylinder from within the armor that was placed on top of the cylinder. For some reason Renya clearly remembered thinking, I guess that has changed into something like a liquid for the time being.
At that time it already had features that made it hard to discern whether it was a young boy or girl. Due to Renya cocking his head in contemplation in front of the cylinder, Emil and Frau, who happened to be present, pointed simultaneously at the nether region of the young boy floating while being nude and said,
“”He has one.””
“Ah, yeah. It looks like it.” (Renya)
Frau and Emil deliver the finishing blow to Renya, who nods with a dejected expression,
“Quite the splendid one ~no!” (Frau)
“He’s a gap character with a fiendish lower half while having such a cute face!” (Emil)
“Yeah, I got it, so both of you shut up.” (Renya)
I wonder, is Croire actually the only one who has some understanding of the word shame among my party members, Renya sinks into a gloomy feeling.
Which reminds me, just how did I end up pondering over these past events? Once he tries to recall that, he noticed that he was stared at by Kurz, sitting next to him and Albert, sitting in front, with somewhat worried expressions.
“Are you alright?” (Kurz)
“Somehow you wore an unspeakably pained expression just now, Margrave-sama?” (Albert)
The emotions stemming from an experience, which he must not remember, and the final debacle of something eerie traveling down his back as he was about to recall the past events seemed to have clearly appeared on his face.
At any rate, Renya looks at Kurz’ face who’s looking anxiously in his direction.
Even looking from nearby, it’s the face of a little girl with no visible faults.
However, his lower half is fiendish.
“Somehow you seem to agonize, Margrave-sama?” (Kurz)
“To me…no matter how I look at it, it seems as if he’s simply enduring not bursting out loud laughing though.” (Albert)
Renya’s attacked by a chain of laughing impulses that they have adequately guessed.
The appearance of his shoulders trembling while he’s slightly blushing and covering his mouth with a hand can certainly be seen as him suffering, but at the same time it might also be regarded as him resisting to laugh out loud.
“N-No, sorry…I was just laughing a bit due to something I remembered.” (Renya)
Renya, who finally escaped from the cycle of laughing impulses after a little while, wiped away the tears that had gathered at the corners of his eyes while apologizing to Albert with his doubtful expression and Kurz with his worried expression.
It’s not like Renya is a person who laughs especially easily, but this is probably because he usually wasn’t blessed with too many opportunities to burst into loud laughter, but he appeared to have quite a bit of trouble in suppressing his laughing urges once he entered into such a state.
“Uumm…what were we talking about?” (Renya)
“About me defeating the human hero.” (Kurz)
“Ah, yea, now I remember. I participated in that battle as well, more or less. It feels as if we somehow managed to win with the two of us. The one who finished him off was Kurz and seemingly as a result of that, he inherited the hero’s powers.” (Renya)
The fact that it was not a deed accomplished solely by Kurz was one of the settings they had agreed on in advance in a preparatory meeting.
After all there would be people finding it difficult to believe that Kurz did it all by himself, judging by his outward appearance.
Once it turned into an explanation of Kurz having accomplished his victory in cooperation with Renya, it apparently becomes a story that is strangely agreeable.
Undoubtedly it seemed that Kurz had luckily, or unluckily, picked up the hero abilities with just the finishing blow against the hero.
Wondering whether that’s alright with him, Renya asked Kurz about it, but Kurz didn’t show an inkling of interest as that was apparently something completely unimportant to him.
“By the way, Albert-dono, you said that you are the hero of the dragonoids, but…” (Renya)
“Margrave-dono, please address me without adding any honorifics. This me has been given the role of serving as a hero, but in reality I’m no more than a mere swordsman.” (Albert)
That’s quite the tall order, isn’t it? Renya ends up thinking.
Seemingly because the impression of the human hero he met before was too powerful, Renya vaguely wonders whether Albert is really a hero, albeit him being the hero of the dragonoids who are supposed to be very respectable in their interactions with others.
It’s a bad tendency, but I probably can’t help it since it’s been a continuous series of disappointing heroes what with the human and the beastman hero, Renya rectifies.
“Then Albert, it looks like you were chosen as the hero of the dragonoids, but were you able to hear the voice of the dragonoids’ god?” (Renya)
“No, unfortunately not.” (Albert)
In Renya’s eyes that was a question with the intent of trying to obtain even the slightest information about other gods from the hero in front of him, but the reply was unfavorable.
In front of Renya, who believes that it probably won’t be that easy to get his hands on said information, Albert continues his words,
“God’s voice of the hero selection can only be heard by the priestess of the dragonoids. According to the words of that priestess, I was chosen as the hero.” (Albert)
“Priestess, eh…?” (Renya)
Now that he mentions it, there was a priestess attached to the beastman hero as well, wasn’t there? Renya remembers.
That priestess looked as if she was having quite the hard time, but if it’s the priestess following Albert, she probably won’t have that many problems, he believes.
“All heroes have been selected by a priestess that received a divine message. Only the human hero is called from a different world through a summoning ceremony.” (Albert)
What a bother, only Renya believes.
Unable to guess Renya’s thoughts, Albert bows his head deeply and matches his look with Kurz’.
“I’m sorry for doubting you. Kurz-dono, hero of the humans. I wonder whether I can request from you the permission to fight together as the hero of the dragonoids?” (Albert)
“Hero Albert-dono, I would be delighted to receive your assistance. Also, it would be an honor to be allowed to fight together with you.” (Kurz)
It seems the only one thinking, Huh?, in this place is Renya.
While looking at the two heroes who stood up from their seats and exchanged smiles as they grasped each other’s hand, Renya dispatches a telepathic communication to Frau,
<Say Frau, is the human hero’s position superior in this case?> (Renya)
<The heroes basically fight below the human hero ~no. Naturally the human hero is the topmost hero ~nano.> (Frau)
Very likely no one except Renya knows that the battle between demon king and the heroes in this world is actually linked to a game of the supervisors who call themselves gods.
But, even Renya, who is aware of those circumstances, doesn’t comprehend at all which rules the game uses.
He believes that the game is made up based on some kind of rules, but he hasn’t seen the rule book for himself.
For an instant Renya considered whether he should try asking the little girl goddess about this, but immediately denies that motion himself.
It’s because he expected that the little girl – putting aside the people actually playing it – who was moving in order to stop this game, doesn’t really grasp its rules either.
Renya’s thoughts, that included such considerations, are pulled back into reality by Albert’s voice.
“Margrave-dono, although the existence of the demon king hasn’t been confirmed yet, they will definitely make an appearance, seeing as the heroes, such as us have appeared. It was fortuitous that I was able to get acquainted with the human hero in preparation of that coming day.” (Albert)
“Mmh…yeah, I suppose that’s true. That’s probably the same for our side’s hero, too.” (Renya)
Renya answers with a calm smile while repeating lip service after lip service in his mind.
Kurz probably doesn’t have any impressions about the meeting with Albert.
He should only harbor the concept of having met since he was told to do so by Frau and Renya.
According to Emil, his adjustments and accumulated experiences seem to be too insufficient to express emotions.
“Well then, I shall return to my country for the time being. Then I will find the right time to visit this place again while bringing along my friends and the hero equipment.” (Albert)
Renya was previously told by Rona that an extended stay of a hero in a foreign country isn’t welcomed much since their combat abilities are exceedingly high.
That’s why he will probably go back right away after a bit of a conversation and a face-to-face meeting, she said.
“I’m looking forward to the day where I can introduce my priestess and friends to you, Hero-dono, Margrave-dono.” (Albert)
“I’m pretty sure that the priestess is a beauty. I can grasp that much from your tone, Albert-san. I’m looking forward to that day as well.” (Kurz)
Kurz responds to Albert words while smiling.
Seemingly because his priestess was praised, Albert scratched his head with a slightly embarrassed smile.
While gazing at those two, Renya couldn’t help but entertain the doubt of whether the emotional aspect of Kurz, who is far more honeymouthed than himself, are really in the middle of adjustment.