Who Killed the Hero? Volume 1 Chapter 1 Part 2

Fragment 1

 

 

Right after entering the academy, I was approached in the classroom.

“You don’t have the qualifications to become the Hero.”

He was a blond youth with excellent features and physique. His blue eyes left an impression, and he had a well-ordered face.

“Even so, I have to become the Hero.”

When I responded that way, the youth grew angry and grasped the sword at his waist.

A teacher hurriedly intervened, so the situation settled down, but after that I became a thorn in his side.

It quickly became clear the blond youth’s name was Leon Mueller. He stood out head and shoulders above the rest of the class, and with him being a count’s son, there were some teachers who curried favor with him too. And his sword skill was certainly excellent.

Blessed with bloodline, physique, and talent, he did not neglect to make an effort either. He showed no sign of arrogance over his own talents, properly training even outside of lessons. Needless to say, he was at the top of candidates to become the Hero.

I thought that he might become the Hero. Or rather, hoped for it.

“If Leon becomes the Hero, then I won’t have to become it, right?”

I had such a carefree thought. But until he actually became the Hero, I couldn’t give up. I couldn’t push the burden of being the Hero onto Leon.

So I decided to work harder at training than Leon. I imposed on myself double the training that he did outside of lessons.

Luckily, time was something I had plenty of. While people gathered around Leon, forcing him to associate with them to some extent, there was no one around me, allowing me to devote all my time outside of lessons to training.

The combat class teachers were mostly former knights who had retired due to aging or injuries, but their skill was certain.

They showed some favoritism to my noble classmates, so they didn’t instruct me directly very much, but the content they taught in lessons was very informative. While there were few teachers particularly sympathetic to me, if I asked questions when there was something I didn’t understand, they properly answered.

With the mindset of using what they taught me, I swung my sword over and over in places around the school buildings where there were no prying eyes.

Furthermore, whenever possible I practiced my forms in front of mirrors or glass to check them.

Through the lessons I realized my way of using a sword had a lot of unnecessary movements. I had come without formally learning the sword, and there were many extraneous motions.

In comparison, Leon’s swordwork was ideal. His sword strokes flowed beautifully without waste, as if pulling a thread. Using his forms as a model, I poured my efforts into training. In mock battles during lessons as well, I challenged him whenever I could.

Each time, I was beaten down by Leon and derided, “You should hurry up and leave the academy.”

Oddly, though, Leon seemed to dislike it when other students made fun of me.

 

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One time when I carelessly left my sword in the classroom, a classmate snatched it up and tried to make it his own.

“A sword like this suits your lowly commoner disposition. I’ll make use of it,”

he said, and the other classmates around him also laughed in agreement.

“It’s an important sword. Can I have it back?”

I could give you anything else, but I can’t give you that sword.

I confronted that classmate. No matter what, I was determined to take it back even by force.

“Hey! How dare a commoner like you be so cocky!”

They were a little intimidated by my momentum, but relying on their greater numbers, they surrounded me.

“Hey,”

Leon called out to them.

“You there, what did you learn a sword is to a warrior?”

Leon questioned the classmate who had stolen my sword.

“Um…a sword is a warrior’s life…”

The questioned boy fumbled to answer.

“Oh? Then is your life now stolen goods?”

The questioned boy shuddered and said,

“No, this was just a prank…”

“Do you intend to become a warrior who trifles with lives as a prank?”

Pressed with the question, the boy silently returned my sword to me.

After confirming that, Leon left, but I chased after him to express my gratitude.

“Thank you, you saved me.”

“Were you listening to what I said?”

Leon harshly responded.

“I said a sword is a warrior’s life! To have yours taken by another is a disgrace unbecoming of a warrior! It’s foolish to steal another’s sword, but one who carelessly misplaces his own is even more foolish!”

He was completely right. Since then, I’ve never let my sword leave my side.


At the end of the summer of the third year, while I was practicing swordplay behind the school building, Leon approached me.

It was rare for him to initiate a conversation. He didn’t have his usual entourage with him.

“Your swordsmanship has improved quite a bit,” he said.

He didn’t use flattery or sarcasm, so he must have been giving me a genuine compliment. I stopped swinging my sword and turned to face Leon.

“I’ve been using your swordsmanship as a model,”

“I see. I’m not that bad myself, but apart from me, your form is the best. Well, it’s partly because the others haven’t been training properly.”

It was a gratifying remark. When I enrolled, I was the worst swordsman in the warrior class because I lacked the basics. Now, Leon was saying that I was second only to him.

However, the fact remained that my classmates, apart from Leon and me, weren’t taking their lessons seriously. They seemed to be afraid of going to the Demon Lord’s territory, even though they had raised their skills a bit. Leon was probably annoyed by this.

“Thank you. It’s been worth the effort,”

“Is that so? I don’t think your results match your efforts. If all you’ve achieved after swinging your sword thousands of times every day is this level, you may not have the talent for it.”

Leon’s observation was accurate. After practicing day and night for over two years and reaching my current level, my talent was indeed questionable.

“Nevertheless, it’s alright. I have to become a Hero, so I must improve my swordsmanship, even if it’s just a little.”

“Why are you so set on becoming a Hero?”

Leon asked with a serious expression.

“It’s because a prophet appeared in my village and prophesied the appearance of a Hero. If I don’t do it, there’s no one else.”

“Do you truly believe that you are a Hero?”

“I wonder? I don’t think I’m particularly suited for it. To be honest, I think you’re more suitable to be a Hero.”

“What?!”

He seemed genuinely surprised.

“So why did you insist on becoming a Hero? You could have left it to me. Then, you wouldn’t have needed to undergo that grueling training every day.”

“Well, that wouldn’t have been right.”

“Wouldn’t have been right?”

“You shouldn’t be a hero. Everyone expects me to be one, and they unilaterally push the great task of defeating the Demon Lord onto me. I have to risk my life to fight it. And if I fail, the world is done for. There’s nothing more troubling than that.”

“…”

Leon hesitated for a moment before speaking.

“Yesterday, my father told me to withdraw from the Hero candidate selection.”

“Why?”

His father should have expected him to become a Hero.

“The situation is pretty bad. It doesn’t seem like we’re in a condition to invade the Demon Lord’s territory. It’s judged that it’s impossible to defeat the Demon Lord, even with a Hero.”

I see, if the situation is dire, they won’t be able to provide support for the Hero who enters the Demon Lord’s territory. Without support, it would be like jumping into a deathtrap.

“He’s worried about you.”

“I know that.”

Leon shouted.

But, I’ve been striving to become a Hero since I was a child! Becoming a Hero and saving the world has always been my dream! I don’t care about my life at this point! But…”

His father, who was an earl, would undoubtedly give him absolute orders. It was probably out of concern for his safety. Leon couldn’t possibly defy those orders.

“I will become the Hero, so it’s okay.”

I began swinging my sword again.

“I’ll definitely defeat the Demon Lord. So, it’s fine.”

“Are you saying that you, weaker than me, can do it?”

Leon’s face twisted in disdain.

“Why can you say that with such confidence? You’re just an ordinary person! You have no power! You can’t possibly defeat the Demon Lord!”

He berated me as if pouring his hatred onto me.

“I’ll do it until I can. If it fails once, I’ll try again. If it fails a second time, I’ll aim for a third. That’s all there is to it.”

I wasn’t that optimistic. I didn’t think it would be that easy to succeed on the first try.

“What are you talking about? If you fail once, it’s all over. There won’t be a second chance.”

“Even so, I have no choice but to do it. The crucial thing is not to give up and stay calm. If you become reckless and waste your life, it’s all over. No matter what, I will see it through to the end. That’s why I’ve learned both offensive and healing magic.”

“…………”

After staring at my face for a while, Leon said,

“Hmph, you talk big. What can a commoner do? It’s me who will defeat the Demon Lord. I can’t just leave everything to you alone and wait peacefully in the country. Entrusting the fate of the world to a commoner is against my pride. No matter what anyone says, I will go to the Demon Lord’s territory. For sure.”

As Leon was about to leave, he turned back as if having second thoughts.

“Make one promise. If I become the Hero, you’ll join my party.”

It was an unexpected statement.

“If I become the Hero?”

“It’s an unlikely scenario. But…”

Leon showed a confident smile.

“If it happens, I’ll join your party.”


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