WM – Chapter 228: Hero Abel can’t understand

◇Hero Abel POV◇

“I will go to the Demon Lord Castle to save Momo.” (Makoto)

That person said straight.

In such a lighthearted manner as if he were saying he was going to have a short walk. 

“Impossible! Going there alone is suicidal!” (Volkh)

“That’s right! We will go too!” (Julietta)

“You people would die. My mission would fail.” (Makoto)

““?!””

The words he said coldly made Vokh-san and Julietta-san fall silent.

(Ugh…!) 

The man, who introduced himself as Makoto and said that he received an oracle from the Sun Goddess-sama, was looking straight at me.

Why is he looking at me…?

Me, a useless Hero…

—The Demon Lord Bifrons subjugation plan a few days ago.

The strongest team with the Fire Hero as the leader.

We were confident that this time for sure we would succeed in subjugating a Demon Lord.

But…

Before we reached the Demon Lord Castle, the assault of the Demon Lord Cain and Setekh of the Demonic Eye crushed us.

More than half of the Hero alliance team was killed by Cain, and the remaining were petrified and captured by Setekh. 

At that time, the captain of the team and my master, the Fire Hero, died.

I couldn’t do anything.

I was recognized as a Hero with promise, but the confidence I had gained after defeating many demons and monsters had been crushed to pieces.

To think a Demon Lord would be…that fearsome…and how unreasonable of an existence they are…

It is impossible…

Even the Fire Hero that guided us was no match at all against Demon Lord Cain.

There’s no way we can win…

My heart broke, and even when help came, my emotions sunk like mud.

It seems like Volkh-san and Julietta-san haven’t given up, but I have already lost the energy to challenge the Demon Lord anymore.

That’s why even when attacked by the monsters that chased after us, I thought ‘whatever happens happens’.

But the result of that was…the little girl being kidnapped.

It was my fault…

At that moment, he prioritized saving me instead of Momo.

I don’t know why though…

“Then, I will go back. The 3 of you, please wait at Laberintos.” (Makoto)

He said this and was about to head through the path we came from.

All alone.

Is that okay?

Is it really okay to have him go alone?

“Please wait! I will…I will go too!” (Abel)

Those words unconsciously came out from me.

◇◇

“Uhm…are you angry, Makoto-san?” (Abel)

I nervously ask…Makoto-san.

We are currently heading back to the Demon Lord Castle.

When I said I would go with him, the indifferent expression of Makoto-san warped for the first time.

He had a clear displeased expression.

T-There’s no need to make such a face…

“I am happy for the offer, but I will go alone—” (Makoto)

Makoto-san refused without missing a beat.

“Wait wait, Makoto-kun! Volkh-san and I are vanguards, so we need our weapons and armor to get our full strength, but Abel is good at healing and support magic. I am sure he will be of use!” (Julietta)

Julietta-san followed up for me.

Volkh-san pushed the idea that all four of us should be going.

We argued for a while, but Makoto-san said ‘I want to chase after Momo fast’ and both Volkh-san and Julietta-san stepped back.

I didn’t fight much against the monsters before so I wasn’t that exhausted, and with the fact that I can use healing magic, it ended with me following Makoto-san as his support.

We went past the forest and the top of the Demon Lord Castle was now in view.

The night had passed and the view was clearer.

“Uhm, Makoto-san…” (Abel)

“…What?” (Makoto)

“No…” (Abel)

Makoto-san has been silent this whole time.

He really is angry…I think?

At that moment, a giant shadow passed by above.

“Stop.” (Makoto)

“Y-Yes!” (Abel)

Makoto-san and I hide in the shadow of a tree nearby.

The identity of the shadows in the sky were a pack of dragons.

Several tens of wyverns and a red dragon flapping its wings majestically.

That’s…

“The red dragon of Demon Lord Bifrons…” (Abel)

“The Demon Lord has returned, huh.” (Makoto)

My trembling voice was overwritten by the indifferent voice of Makoto-san.

This person doesn’t feel fear?

The pack of dragons grew smaller as they disappeared at the direction of the Demon Lord Castle.

“Let’s go.” (Makoto)

Makoto-san slowly began to walk forward.

“W-Wait please! The Demon Lord has returned. It is impossible. Saving her is already…” (Abel)

“Abel-san.” (Makoto)

Makoto-san turned around.

His eyes were clear.

No tension, anger, fear, not even a heart of justice; eyes that I couldn’t feel a single emotion from.

“You really should go back to Volkh-san and Julietta-san.” (Makoto)

“?!” 

Did he think I got cold feet there?

But everyone is scared of Demon Lords no matter who they are! 

Makoto-san continued walking to the Demon Lord Castle without saying a word.

I must go too.

He didn’t even look back.

(Does he not mind whether I am there or not…?) 

“If you are coming with me, don’t get too far away from me.” (Makoto)

“?! …Yes!” (Abel)

Even though he is not looking here.

What a mysterious person.

Even though he shows no emotions and has a cold voice, I could tell that he was worrying about me.

Different from my master and Volkh-san, his back is by no means big.

And yet, for some reason, I felt safe looking at that back.

I chased after the back of Makoto-san.

◇◇

“Let’s rest in shifts till night.” (Makoto)

“O-Okay…” (Abel)

A space of shrubs in a thicket that was dense enough for 2 people to lie down close to the Demon Lord Castle.

I thought for sure that we would jump into the Demon Lord Castle immediately, but Makoto-san said we would be waiting for night to come.

“Sleep first please.” (Makoto)

“N-No, you are tired too, right, Makoto-san? I will stay up as a lookout.” (Abel)

“…Is that so. Please tell me when 1 hour passes.” (Makoto)

Saying this, I heard his rhythmic breathing a few seconds after.

He must have been quite tired.

It is past noon now.

It certainly is way too bad of a time to infiltrate.

I watched the Demon Lord Castle spaced out, and suddenly something passed in front of me.

(Eh?!) 

It was a blue butterfly.

It had glossy transparent-like wings and was flying around Makoto-san.

“Is this…a living being made from water magic?” (Abel)

I could feel slight mana from it.

But…who?

Makoto-san should be asleep.

And then, I noticed…

Makoto-san is using magic while sleeping.

Chills ran down my back.

Wasn’t he supposed to be resting? 

No, he is unconsciously doing it.

He is always training even while sleeping.

“You…just who in the world are you?” (Abel)

He easily saved us who were captured at the Demon Lord Castle, and was trying to return all on his own to save the little girl that was captured by the Demon Lord.

He said that it was an oracle from the Sun Goddess Althena-sama.

But Althena-sama doesn’t say anything to me.

Even though the Lightning Hero Skill was something that Althena-sama granted me…

When we were on our way, I asked ‘what Hero Skill do you have?’ to Makoto-san.

Then, he gave the bizarre answer of ‘I don’t have any Hero Skill. I only have 3 elementary ranked Skills’.

That’s impossible.

No way.

I have the [Appraisal: Saint Rank] Skill.

I stealthily confirmed the Skills of Makoto-san…and it was true.

[Water Magic], [Sun Magic], [Destiny Magic] all elementary rank Skills, and also [Spirit User].

Those were all of his Battle Skills.

There’s also [Clear Mind] and…just what in the world is [RPG Player]?

It was also shocking that his physical ability is terribly low.

Also, most of all…

(He is not a believer of Althena-sama?!) 

Even though he is not a believer, he received an oracle…?! 

My head couldn’t keep up.

What’s with this person?

I look at his profile face that was peacefully sleeping despite being close to the Demon Lord Castle.

Just what kind of nerves is he made of…?

I gave up on understanding him.

◇Takatsuki Makoto POV◇

“Then, let’s go.” (Makoto)

“It is still evening though… Is it okay?” (Abel)

Hero Abel asked worriedly.

It is true that it would be better if we were to infiltrate late in the night just like yesterday.

But…

“I am worried about Momo.” (Makoto)

“…Yeah.” (Abel)

There were no objections to my words.

“You can wait here if you want, Abel-san.” (Makoto)

“D-Don’t give me that after coming all the way here! I will go too.” (Abel)

“Got it.” (Makoto)

It would trouble me if Hero Abel were to die, so I am fine with him just staying back though…

Even so, I managed to sleep well for the first time in a while after coming to the past.

When I first arrived here, I couldn’t relax until I could confirm the safety of Hero Abel. I didn’t sleep for more than 24 hours till before saving them.

…Lacking sleep is not good.

I ended up messing up and had Momo kidnapped.

{Spirit-sans, are you there?} (Makoto)

((((Yes~))))

(Yes, Our King.)

The usual Water Spirits and the Great Water Spirit Undine answered.

Alright, preparations made.

“[Mist].” (Makoto)

It all happened yesterday, so of course they are on alert.

There’s a lot of monsters keeping watch.

I use Detection to search for places with the least amount of guards.

On top of that, I use Stealth to erase my presence.

It is one-patterned, but it is the safest method.

Hero Abel also had the same Skills.

Well, it must be necessary in these times.

We slowly closed the distance from the back of the Demon Lord Castle. 

There’s obviously guards in the back gate too.

Is there no place to sneak in…?

The Demon Lord Castle is big and the monsters are gigantic too.

It would be nice to have an opening somewhere that a human could slip into though…

(There’s a lot of monsters and demons though…) (Makoto)

The reactions from Detection are incomparable to yesterday’s.

I thought they would be going out to search for the Heroes, but…I was wrong.

I see.

They have Momo as a hostage.

Of course they would be wary here as well…

This is troubling.

It was at that moment…

“Makoto-sama…?” 

While I was searching the surroundings of the Demon Lord Castle, my name was called.

“?!”

There’s only 4 people in this world who know my name.

That’s why I know the owner of that voice.

I desperately search for the owner of that voice.

There.

Momo.

“Wa?!” 

Seeing that figure of hers, I was at a loss for words from the shock.

Her attire is different from the last time I saw her.

It is like she is a servant, or more like, she is wearing maid clothes, but that’s certainly Momo.

But her attire is of no importance right now.

“Makoto! D-Don’t. We couldn’t make it in time. This girl is already…” (Abel)

The words of Hero Abel didn’t reach my ears.

I approached Momo with unsteady feet.

“…Makoto-sama. Don’t. You must not come here…” (Momo)

“Momo…” (Makoto)

That’s right. 

I must apologize.

Even though it was for my mission, I didn’t protect Momo who I promised to, and prioritized Hero Abel.

But my thoughts were in disarray.

“Makoto-san, please…get away from her! That girl…has become a vampire!” (Abel)

Hero Abel shouted.

The face of Momo warped in sadness.

Vampire…?

“I have become the familiar of Demon Lord Bifrons. I have become your enemy…” (Momo)

Momo hung her head down and said this with a shrivelled up voice.

Momo’s hair was pure white.

Her black eyes had turned crimson.

Her small lips had fangs peeking out.

But what surprised me wasn’t that.

The face of Momo was familiar.

A person I am very familiar with.

A person that has helped me out many times.

Why didn’t I notice?

Because her way of speaking was different?

Because her eyes were different? 

That person was always overflowing with confidence.

(You said that I didn’t meet you…) (Makoto)

Liar.

No matter how I look at her, Momo is…the Great Sage-sama.

—Author Comment:

It was very obvious, but the name of the Great Sage-sama has been revealed.

I have left her name unknown all this time.

It wasn’t foreshadowing, but since ‘Chapter 56: Takatsuki Makoto speaks to the Great Sage-sama’, I have been writing the Great Sage-sama with the premise that she has memories of Makoto.

> “You sit here.” 

> For some reason my seat was made to be at the side of the Great Sage.

It was around here.

Since the 2nd Arc, writing the scene of the Great Sage-sama and Makoto meeting 1,000 years in the past was one of the number one scenes I wanted to write. I am personally really satisfied having been able to write it.

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