I, the “false hero” expelled the “true hero” Volume 1 Chapter 3 part 9

《Threat of [Swift Claw]》
 

With the sun’s rise, while the air still held a chill people began their daily routines.
 
Inside the wooden garrison of Ouro Village to the northeast,
 
the stationed Ratio kept watch over his surroundings while heaving yet another sigh he had long since lost count of.
 
“Haaah….”
 
“Oi, why the long face Ratty boy?”
 
“It’s Ratio! Cut it out with those weird nicknames already.”
 
Ratio shot back at the middle-aged soldier who teased him as usual. Then sighed once more.
 
The soldier took a hearty swig of liquor and opened his mouth.
 
“Hey don’t look so down. We were up against that “Gold-White Wolf” right? I wouldn’t have expected to win against that thing myself. Nothing strange about a whelp like you passing out.”
 
The reason Ratio was feeling down was that very “Gold-White Wolf” – and the fact he had fainted trying to face even a child version of it. Though not originally on duty, the news of Ayame’s group leaving the village prompted Ratio to stubbornly tag along.
 
The middle-aged soldier was shocked later on seeing Ratio get piggybacked by Ayame and asked what happened, but Ayame kept silent in order to protect the boy’s dignity. However, Ratio himself blurted it out after regaining consciousness back at the station and now every soldier in the village knew about the embarrassing incident.
 
Ratio regretted it to this day and it put him in a foul mood, taking a blunt tone.
 
“Oh just shut it. I became a soldier to protect this village. My profession was revealed to be [Soldier] from the [Oracle]. From that moment on at ten years old I worked hard towards my goal until I became an adult at sixteen. Yet despite all that effort I faint against a single magical beast, losing consciousness to a child at that…how pathetic is that?”
 
“Wasn’t your opponent a bit unfair though?”
 
“That’s not the issue here…”
 
Seeing Ratio’s dejected state, more soldiers began to gather around.
 
Hearing the reason behind his melancholy they guffawed loudly. Even soldiers not part of the gathering were playing cards and the like,
 
clearly lacking any motivation. The blatant apathy made Ratio feel even more pathetic and useless.
 
Despite the very real threat of magical beast attacks, this was their attitude. They only reinforced defenses even when that massive wolf attacked and did nothing else.
 
There was neither tension nor soldierly pride. Simply pathetic.
 
“….Hmm? Isn’t that B-san over there? What’s he doing in a place like….”
 
“You’re right. Oi, B…! What are you- ……”
 
A soldier calling out to a partner he noticed keeping watch in the distance trails off. As one approaches, he freezes in shock.
 
The one called B… laid soaked in blood.
 
“Hey! Pull yourself together Blast!?”
 
“W-What happened!?”
 
“S-Some…..thing’s……”
 
“Huh? Can’t make it out.”
 
“A…Ah….!”
 
“What is it, Ratty boy? What’re you starin’ at?”
 
“Kuhahahaha! Look at the lowly mongrels wandering over here.”
 
Without anyone realizing, a humanoid hawk-like creature was flying in the sky.
 
The dripping blood made it evident he had shredded that soldier with the long sharp talons fused to his outstretched wings. Everyone gritted their teeth.
 
–This guy is dangerous.
 
“Now then, let me offer you up as a blood sacrifice! You inferior beings should revel in witnessing the horrors of we demonfolk firsthand.”
 
“Enemy raid!! It’s the demonfolk!!”
 
Recognizing it as demonfolk, the soldiers raised the alarm and began ringing the village bell.
 
The soldiers promptly surrounded the demonfolk. Leisurely descending, the demonfolk eyed his encirclement with amusement.
 
“Now what business does a demonfolk have coming to a place like this!”
 
“Hmph, rude but I shall humor you with an answer. I am Onyx. Serving directly under the Eight General [Blast]’s Lord Downburst, Onyx of [Swift Claw]! As for my purpose, it should be obvious. To offer up you pathetic humans in a blood sacrificial rite and shred your bodies to pieces.”
 
“Why target some remote village like this….we’ve got nothing here that would interest demonfolk!”
 
“Precisely because of that! A peaceful village far removed from battle and war. Destroying that peace fills me with delight, such delight!”
 
“Tch! Everyone attack together!”
 
The soldiers simultaneously thrust out their spears. Their occupation as [Soldier] granted them the Skill [Thrust] which they utilized in attempt to skewer Onyx through.
 
“Futile. Far too slow.”
 
But the next instant Onyx’s arms blurred.
 
“Wha…You..”
 
“Before those dull spears could even reach me. Now then, you’re next – [Shred to Pieces].”
 
“Gyaaaaaa!!”
 
A blast of wind kicks up.
 
Vanishing in an instant with blinding speed, the soldiers are shredded by Onyx as he reappears.
 
“S-Stop…please st….!”
 
“Guh…”
 
“Kuhahahaha! That’s right, cower in fear! This is what happens wandering to a remote village like this!”
 
Onyx’s wings flap joyously as if in rapturous ecstasy. With Downburst dead, Onyx had only been on recon duty so witnessing such terror-stricken human expressions restored his damaged ego.
 
He purposefully avoided killing anyone. A manifestation of his cruel nature full of sadistic tendencies – to instill terror in the other soldiers.
 
“Now, who’s next? Come get the thrill of me meticulously dicing you to pieces.”
 
His purple eyes narrow as he leers. Bearing the trademark demonfolk madness, the soldiers’ teeth clatter at the sight.
 
“Eek! W-We’re done for!”
 
“No way we can defeat a demonfolk!”
 
“R-Run! Fall back!”
 
Morale collapses. The soldiers begin retreating towards the village in panic. Among them only Ratio strode towards Onyx instead.
 
“Oi you! What’re you doing Ratty boy! We gotta scram!”
 
“No way.”
 
“Haaah!?”
 
“I’m a soldier sworn to protect this village! Who’s going to defend the villagers if we soldiers turn tail and flee!?”
 
“Don’t be stupid boy! Think about the difference in power here! You’ll die!”
 
Ignoring the middle-aged soldier’s shouts, Ratio continues walking to Onyx.
 
“Oh? At least one mongrel here has some backbone?”
 
Onyx’s purple eyes fall upon Ratio.
 
Doing his best to steel his trembling body from those eyes boring into him, Ratio admonishes himself.
 
(Don’t tremble! If I turn my back on him too then who’ll protect the village!?)
 
Truthfully Ratio was just as frightened as the rest. Were running away viable he would have turned his back and fled along with those other soldiers.
 
But that was out of the question.
 
He was a soldier. One tasked with protecting the village.
 
It was the occupation he had yearned for
 
and finally been granted at sixteen after discovering his calling from the [Oracle] at ten years of age.
 
There was no way he could flee now.
 
(And also…)
 
What surfaced in Ratio’s mind was the masked man.
 
Despite having no ties to this village, that suspicious man had faced off against that terrifying magical beast.
 
What right did Ratio have to face the village’s crisis if he himself turned tail?
 
“I….want to protect this village!”
 
Gripping his spear tightly, Ratio charges ahead paying no heed to the cries for him to stop.
 
“Uwooooohhh!! [Thrust]!”
 
“Admirable valor. I acknowledge your backbone but there’s no way the likes of you humans can wound Onyx of [Swift Claw]!
 
“Gah!”
 
Onyx easily halts Ratio’s thrusting spear to shred his shoulder with the other set of talons.
 
An intensely hot pain. Blinking away tears welling up in his eyes, Ratio stands back up.
 
“Won’t allow you…..to threaten the village…!”
 
“Kuhahah! I rather like your kind human. Know why?”
 
Onyx sneers maliciously.
 
“The types who refuse to give up no matter what and keep crawling back to their feet represent the height of entertainment to me. Everytime they stand back up covered in new wounds until eventually their minds break from trauma.”
 
“What’s that?”
 
“I’ll sever your fingers first. Then your arms. Followed by torso and head as you scream and shriek. Let me hear those pitiful cries, you inferior being.”
 
Onyx’s eyes narrow in wicked anticipation.
 
Ratio’s teeth clatter at the sight which he attempts to mask by further tightening his grip on the spear.
 
“Kuhahahaha! Go on, struggle some more!”
 
“Tch! Uwaaaa!!”
 
Charging towards Onyx again only to be evaded as his leg is gashed this time.
 
Yet Ratio refuses to give up, continuing to valiantly attack with zealous vigor. But tragically none of Ratio’s strikes reached their mark and his wounds simply accumulated more and more after each attack.
 
“Gah!”
 
“Already can’t even stand huh. As expected you humans are inferior beings only fit to grovel as our playthings until you break.”
 
“That’s not….! All of us are doing our best just to live! We’re not playthings for you demonfolk or anything like that!”
 
“Hmph, enough. I’ll break that spirit of yours soon enough by chopping off your legs. Now then, let’s start with your fingers fir–“
 
“””Uwooooohhh!!”””
 
Suddenly spirited warcries bellow out from behind Ratio.
 
It was the soldiers who had fled earlier. Seeing Ratio still fighting must have brought them rushing back.
 
“We’ll stomp you into the ground! It’s our job to protect the village dammit!”
 
“No way we’d run away after seeing Ratty boy here still facing him!”
 
“I won’t letcha lay a finger on my wife n’ daughter!”
 
“We won’t just let you demonfolk have your way!”
 
The previously drunk and slovenly soldiers now rise together against the enemy before them
 
with unexpected vigor in order to protect their village. Ratio felt his eyes grow hot at the sight.
 
However,
 
“Don’t get smart with me, you lowly creature. [Shredded Twister]”
 
“Gyaaaaa!!”
 
Onyx’s wings beat as his form vanishes.
 
With overwhelming speed the soldiers are shredded by the swirling winds, their resolve rendered meaningless beneath the sheer force of violence.
 
“Ga…hah….”
 
“Ugh…..”
 
” Mi, guys. “
 
The soldiers were all wiped out. They could still breathe, but none of them could stand anymore.
 
Ratio clenched his teeth tightly.
 
“Flocking together like a bunch of small fry. In the end, you’re just lowly creatures that can’t even fly. Worthless beings. And I know your goal. You’re just buying time until the villagers escape, right? Even if you buy time, it’s pointless. Because by the time your underlings surround the village from behind, it’s over.”
 
“W-what…!”
 
At those words, Ratio’s eyes widened in shock.
 


 
Onyx is bent on revenge for the death of his superior officer.
 
His superior slain, Onyx led the remnants of Downburst’s forces in retreating from Atherdam. He returned to the demonfolk stronghold, immediately proposing that the other Eight Generals mobilize to kill the [Hero]. However, the subsequent orders given to Onyx were to monitor Foil and his friends.
 
[Why won’t you send the army right away? We defeated one of the Eight Generals after all. It’s not like we would do something careless correct? Wasn’t retreating instead of eliminating them after defeating them Lord Downburst’s own decision?]
 
[You fighting the “Hero” directly? Don’t make me laugh. There’s no way you can accomplish that. There’s no chance of you defeating him]
 
Those words and the images of those contemptuous yet gentle smiles and their trained physique fill Onyx’s mind with rage whenever he recalls them. All of Onyx’s proposals had been refused and to add insult to injury, he was now placed under [Baron] in name only .
 
“My only lord is Lord Downburst!!”
 
Naturally, Onyx was indignant at serving anyone other than Downburst. However, having no power to oppose the Generals yet still forced to carry out humiliating orders, the bitterness was overwhelming.
 
“Respond, have you located him?”
 
Flapping his wings, Onyx spoke into the bracelet in his hand.
 
A magical artifact passed down from ancient times. With a matching pair, it enabled conversation no matter the distance between holders.
 
The one who responded in broken speech was a lowly demonfolk soldier.
 
[Gaah gah, Onyx sama. Not find. Hero nowhere, not here]
 
“He’s not the [Hero]! Just hurry up and find him!! Should I shred you mongrels up like that wolf!?”
 
[S-Sorry very much]
 
Not hiding his irritation, Onyx cut off communication.
 
“Can’t even respond properly without me contacting first. Useless fools.”
 
Onyx clicked his tongue.
 
The formidable army Downburst once led now had naught but unintelligent demonfolk and magical beasts remaining.
 
The reason Onyx was convinced Foil still alive:
 
He had watched everything transpire from the skies above – the Eight Generals’ ambush, the demonfolk army’s attempt to steal the holy sword, all of it.
 
To the public, Foil battled Yuu and fell off a cliff to his death.
 
Yuu and Mei had also searched but found no traces of him, judging that his body must have been washed away down the river below. They were crestfallen over his loss.
 
However, Onyx witnessed it with his very eyes.
 
Someone had rescued Foil as he fell off that cliff.
 
“Don’t know who it was but no doubt they meant to save him. Then he must still be somewhere in these woods.”
 
And so Onyx scoured every inch of the forest in search of Foil.
 
All in order to kill Foil with his own two hands without returning to inform the demonfolk stronghold that Foil still lived nor asking for permission – acting entirely on his own discretion. However, the forest was vast and the search progressed less smoothly than he imagined. Even his sharp vision was mostly useless amidst the obstructing trees.
 
Initially Onyx was not so impatient. After all Foil’s injuries were grave. He reasoned there would be no way for Foil to move from the woods.
 
But that impatience gradually transformed to agitation. No matter how much area he covered there was no sign of Foil. And yesterday, the unit searching for Foil suffered immense casualties from a single massive wolf.
 
Onyx himself descended to take action but the beast exploited an opening to escape. His forces also lost nearly half their numbers, hampering search efforts.
 
“That damn fake will show himself eventually! And then Onyx of [Swift Claw] will have his revenge for Lord Downburst! That wolf as well, next time I’ll tear out its throat! ……Hmm?”
 
Burning with vengeful fury,
 
Onyx spotted Ouro Village below.
 
Already irritated over his inability to find the elusive [Hero].
 
Disdainful as he was towards his own men for lacking wit, Onyx was still undeniably demonfolk. His malice towards humans easily matched any other’s.
 
Onyx’s lips twisted into a nasty grin.
 
“Might as well have come for this after all. Far more eager to hear human screams than beastly howls.”
 
Kachi kachi rang out…the white feathers on his arms glinted eerily in the moonlight on the sharp hooks of Onyx’s talons.
 


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