Ch H: Two Heroes and a Handshake
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[Daigo POV]

My eyes were open wider than my momma’s girth. I coulda never believed anything like this woulda happened ta me until today. I was standin’ in a room with folks I didn’t recognize while some geezer was chattin’ away about how we were heroes summoned to help another world. I was chosen to save the people! Of all people I was picked to help others! It made me smile the greatest smile I think I’ve ever smiled.

I was smiling because I could finally be like my bro. He was awesome! A bit like a superhero. He was always helping people out around our small town. Everyone knew him. I tried ta tag along sometimes, but being the little bro was hard, ya know? Always felt like I was the shadow. Even my parents focused more on him then they ever did ta me. I’m like the green bean plumber. Outta disbelief I looked ‘round the room ta see if my bro was here, just in case I was getting ahead of myself, but I didn’t see him. Bro, I love ya, but good riddance, haha! It’s gonna be my time ta shine! These people don’t look too happy, I’ll fix that! I’m gonna help out all these people. My companions and then the world!

I heard a loud plop on the floor. That smack was louder than a teacher’s paddleboard, what the heck? I looked ta see a girl with silver hair crumpled on the floor. Poor lass seems to have tripped. This is the perfect time to help! I take a first step in her direction when the old geezer yammers at her. Argh, ya beanpole! That was my entrance! I was gonna swoop in ta help her and then the crowd woulda clapped for me! Look the girl already got up by herself!

Nah nah nah, it’s all fine. I’ll make an even bigger impression when we all introduce ourselves. That’s what’s gonna happen. No more shadow, I’ll be the bright light in center stage! I just gotta be patient, it’s what my friends always said at home. Yeah, I may have driven big bro’s motorcycle inta the wall cuz I wanted ta take it for a spin, but that’s not important, I’m telling ya, it’s not. I’m as patient as a turtle, and I’ll prove it!

--

Wasn’t I supposed ta get some super-powered battle maid or something like that? I have a dude my age serving me, that’s kinda weird, I feel like. Like, I would read all those stories of people in my situation, and they would always have someone like that serving them. His name’s Walter, but he looks… kinda plain, yeah? I don’t sense a single trace of badassery anywhere on the lad. The “yessirs” and “of courses” kinda make him seem a bit generic, but I guess he’s not a main character.

It’s no problem, none at all, I’ll just snatch a babe from the selection of my fellow summoned. Ooooh, I should go for that silver haired lass, or maybe that nicely tanned chick with the blonde hair. Yo, when I get a girl my bro’s gonna lose it! I’m not wrong in trying ta go for one, right? I mean, in all the movies, and in all the comics, everywhere really, the dude’s always got a lover ta mess around with. I’m no hero if I ain’t gotta peep to myself y’know?

Wait, I’m kinda off track here, ain’t I? Heroes do it not for the glory, but for the people! I’m sure someone will naturally come to me as I save everyone possible! Yeah, that’s gotta be the way. If I focus too much on what I want, I won’t get anything! I’m sure that’s how bro got to where he is today! Yeah, that’s it…

Would that work though? I mean, we all gotta save the entire country! Bro’s turf is in our town, but ain’t my territory waaaaay bigger than that? It might even be the world! I guess that’s why there’s a whole bunch of us, but would those hero rules work here? Man, all this is scrambling my brain! Maybe I just gotta act natural, like a hero would. I mean, that man who flies with the cape from the comics just acts like himself, so I should just do the same right? Yeah that’s it! I gotta follow my own rules!

--

I wasn’t keepin’ track of any time, but it felt like ages until I could actually do something! We had ta wait around for some old heroes ta come and introduce themselves ta us. I didn’t see the point in that. Their time for glory was over, yeah? I didn’t wanna hear of some great exploits that I could never understand, ya know? History was gonna be made by us new heroes! Though I kinda feel like I got the short end of the stick here. The enemy was supposed ta be Elves, but these oldies fought against Demons! It feels like a sequel with an enemy that could never top the original production. The viewership was prolly gonna be way lower than the last time. But I guess that’ll just be a challenge for me. Hah! Alright world, bring it on! I’ll be known so well that kids in the womb will be hearin’ rumbles of my greatness! The bones of the fallen will be rattlin’ in sheer awe of my righteousness!

Hooooo boy, Daigo yer getting way too excited over this. I decided I ta just go ‘round and introduce myself to the rest of the bunch. I gotta play it nice and cool, so peeps know I’m the man to come to.

“What’s poppin’ fellas?”

I pulled a line from my bro’s dialogue. I said it to that tanned girl from earlier, and some scrawny boy with messy hair.

“Oh, hey, what’s up?”

The girl seemed chill.

“Ah, greetings.”

The boy sounded more formal.

I ended up havin’ a real nice talk with the two of them. The girl was just startin’ college, and the boy was nearin’ the end of middle school. They were smilin’ (hopefully ta me), the whole time.

I went and said my hellos to everybody else, though I felt like I was forgettin’ somebody…

Ah! The girl with the silver hair! Where in the world did she wind up? I looked ‘round like a meerkat patrollin’ the land but I couldn’t spot her for the life of me. Finally, I saw her huddled in the corner by herself. She prolly wanted to stay away from peeps after that spectacular show she pulled for us earlier today, huh? I didn’t blame her, but wasn’t this was the perfect chance? This was my time ta be the man. I strolled up to her and heard some intense mutterin’ that I coulda never expected from a small thing like her. It had me all gobsmacked. I might, uh, have let loose a bit of my thoughts from my head.

“Geez, what demon are you summoning?’

The girl yelped and glared daggers at me. Gyaah! Daigo ya let your mind leak ya buffoon!

“What?”

Her voice was wiggly. Aw man, did I spook her? This wasn’t going smooth, I gotta fix this fast. So, I tried asking my question real soft and nice this time. No mind leaking at all.

“I asked whatcha doing.”

“Nothing, j-just simply waiting.”

Man, she’s blocking me off! I gotta go slow and steady, match her wavelength, just think of it like bro’s bass guitar, yeah…

“… I see. Well I think we all should prolly get ta know each other, since it looks like all of us are gonna be a group. I’m Daigo, dontcha worry ‘bout any formalities with me.”

The girl squeaked her reply like a mouse. I couldn’t hear her at all!

“Huh?”

The girl said something that I still couldn’t hear. Was something wrong my ears? Wax clog it up or somethin’? I told her,

“You should speak up, ya know that?”

“R-Ren!”

The girl shouted it, her voice didn’t sound too hot, like she needed a drink of water. I guess her name is Ren? Lookin’ at her she was red in the face and was looking away. I bombed it didn’t I? Damn it Daigo! How do ya go from such a smooth talk to such a bad one in the change of a minute? Ren was prolly one of those types that excelled by themselves. I guess I’m too much for her? I tried ta apologize.

“Ren, eh? …Well, nice to meet ya. Seems I pushed you too far for a bit, so I’ll let ya calm down.”

Walkin’ away, I convinced myself that there will be plenty more chances for me to shine, yeah, I just gotta wait…

--

“So, I’m sayin’ we all oughta get together an really become allies, ya hear? How else are we gonna be the heroes of the world if we can’t be on the same wavelength?”

“Oh? Even though three of us have already left?”

I wasn’t appreciating this little missy right here. I was finally able ta get a decent talk with Ren while waiting for whatever class-giver ta show up, and Ren had mentioned a dislike ta her and I could see why. Even I had ta resist boppin’ her on the head. She acts so smug it ticks me off ya know? But challenges like these are what make a hero! And that class giver even called me one. I dunno what that means at all, but it’s gotta be a good thing right? Point is, heroes lead, and since I was officially called one, I gotta act the part, yeah?

I was a bit disappointed though. Ren, Usagi, and Naoki all bounced pretty early, and I didn’t even see Ren leave. She may have been stiff in our conversation, but I felt like I was getting somewhere, ya know? So, this little missy was right in the fact that I couldn’t get all of the bunch ta stay. But I did manage most of the group, and that’s pretty cool, yeah?

“Yeah, not everyone’s right here standin’, but most of us are, and if we start workin’ together as a team then the others are gonna come and join us. It’s only natural. I think it’s better to have us know each other then just be workin’ with peeps we don’t know. We’ll be stronger as friends then allies, I think. So, I’ll introduce myself once again. I am Daigo! That weird class-giver peep called me a hero! I’m gonna do everything I can to save the people of this country, cause even if we don’t know them, they’re still people, yeah? They still have families and lives to live. Sure, we got no business with them, but I think it’s the right thing to do. So, I propose we meet again later ta really get ta know each other. I’ll hear anything ya can throw at me! Do you wanna start little missy?”

“My, calling me out? The name’s Aya. I have a number of comments. First…”

--

Man, ta think it’s been a whole week! I’m standing here with the rest of the New Heroes waiting for Sir Bors to introduce us again with our classes. He’s scrolling through and then he calls out Ren’s class. I’ve been real keen cuz I haven’t been able to ask her what it was. She seems like an elusive type.

“Ren, class: Rogue! subclass: Mage!”

Woah, what? Ain’t that super weird? She has two classes? It seems like a phenomenon that would be cool ta have. I hafta admit, I’m jealous. There are mutters all ‘round us too. Sir Bors got ta me next.

“Daigo, class: Hero!”

Suddenly, people started crowding ‘round me like I was a mascot at an amusement park. Most of them were part of the First Heroes, and I could feel all their praises thrown at me. I had ta smile. I was busy introducing myself and all for a while. This must be the moment that starts my legend! This is it right here!

The very last one was somebody I had already introduced myself to, but I thought ta do it again. It was Lord Fujimoto, of course. Lookin’ at him, I could tell he had a different air about himself then earlier this week. He was a bit tense, kinda. He still had all his weird jewels and bright white clothes and all that, but he wasn’t the leader I saw before. I dunno if it’s the smiles getting’ ta me, but I think he’s glaring at me. Like he’s trying to send a message.

As I shook his hand, he seemed ta grip mine a bit harder than normal, and his smile was funky.

Yeah, I didn’t like him.

--

[Fujimoto POV]

Yes, I did not like him.

This out-of-nowhere squirt, is suddenly named Hero? It boggled me. What qualities did this fool have? He was grinning like he deserved this. He did not. The title of Hero is granted to those who have natural leadership skills. Those who know their allies personally. Heroes must be proper, refined. This dude looked like he was a mess, and what was with that shoddily dyed hair? This situation annoyed me. I was the Hero here, yet my former classmates turned allies rushed over to him like he was foreign beast to be looked at. Well, I won’t deny the beast part. He’s absolutely insufferable. I’ve heard he’s been attempting to get everyone on his side to lead them, but he’s nowhere near as skilled as me, and it’s obvious. As I gripped his hand and faked a smile towards him, I sent my silent regards. It was a simple message.

You are not the Hero. I am.

The reality was clear, and I would make him accept it. Though, when I think about it, I shouldn’t fret too much. He was going to die anyway. When Xenomyr revealed to me his plans on using these so-called New Heroes as bait to start the war between the Elves, I thought he was smart. It was almost flawless. Send the New Heroes to engage the Elves. Let them die. Then, send us First Heroes to war against them in their name. But there lies the problem in these New Heroes, and it’s that they are scattered and scatterbrained. Just a glance will let you know that most of them are duds, and they don’t even know each other. This causes them to be harder to control as a group, and that can lead to problems. Problems I don’t want to deal with. But, all I need is to wait a month, and these pawns will exit out of everyone’s memories. Xenomyr could convince the people that they died gloriously fighting for the country of Entrendei. The mere sheep that were the common folk would fall for everything that man said.

It astonished me really, how stupid the people of this world were. Since I’ve started governing my own territory, which consisted of three towns, I’ve realized that I could get away with much more than anyone could possibly imagine. Embezzling funds, secret executions, the theft of pretty women to become a concubine. If I simply used my words, I could have anything I wanted to. But it wasn’t quite enough.

The Elves provided me a great opportunity. If I could simply take hold of their Queen, preferably through marriage, then I could have thousands of years of knowledge at my fingertips. Not only that, but I heard Elves were quite good looking, so I could have some fun there. I’ll play it off as “Oh, as a Noble Hero, I must unite our countries with this marriage, and with our child, the conflict between our domains will vanish!” and simply get what I want. From there, kill Xenomyr, take Castle Grawden with my Elven army and become a great leader that everyone will remember. Perhaps I can expand my lifespan with Elven magic. I wonder if I can woo the Queen, but the likelihood is that I’ll have to use force.

My classmates were simply a test. Winning them over was easy. Present the qualities of a leader, look good, and be at every extracurricular activity. I wasn’t even the class president, but I still held more power than poor Hisoka. I will admit, even I can improve in my leadership skills. I never got Hisoka’s full approval, and Ren never followed anything I did. Though he was powerless against me. Thank whatever goddess they worshipped here, he was gone. He scurried back home because he had no place with me in my world. Though I felt as if I was being taunted. There was a girl, who acted very much like him, and even sported the same name. Hell, she even had the same class. The similarities were uncanny. I couldn’t help but wonder, what if this girl was actually him? I denied the very thought, but if the opportunity came to torment him so he could know my power. Feel my power. Then it would be great.

Ren would be alone. Trapped. If Ren was actually… well, Ren, then I would be able to blackmail them for anything I wanted to, and I know just the way to make them crack.

--

“Lotus.”

I said it right in their face, and I made them look at me when I said it. I could see a shiver course through Ren’s body. They answered me.

“I’m sorry, Lotus, milord?”

They looked at me with what seemed to be a questioning look. Oho, playing the part of an innocent, are you? The girl was clearly shaken up by my presence, but I couldn’t determine if that was because she was the Ren I knew, or if I was just intimidating.

“…Don’t mind it. I’ll be taking my leave.”

I flicked my cape and exited away from her. I could hear a sigh of relief as I walked away. I would need to keep an eye on her.  I’m not convinced yet.

--

“Lord Fujimoto, are you sure you want to lead this operation?”

“Minerva, I’ve said it a dozen times, yes, I am.”

“But milord, the Church needs to focus its main forces on the Elven threat. The lack of your presence could cause serious consequences.”

“Please Minerva, they’ll have Hisoka and the rest of them, I doubt they could ever lose.”

“Milord, I fear your absence may affect morale.”

“…A fair point, but if I bring the Church the silver-haired girl, which they now seem to crave greater than the elimination of the Elves, than I shall surely get rewarded. Plus, I have some personal business with her myself. You can send Bors in my place. Tell him I’ll share some of the Butterberry Wine he loves so much, and he’ll agree instantly.”

“Milord, I’m not understanding. Why do you need to go after some injured girl?”

“Because she attacked the Church, Minerva.”

“Can’t some infantry go after her?”

“No, because she’s a Hero, so we need to keep her treachery a secret.”

“But Milord, didn’t we announce all the New Heroes to the nobles?”

“Yes, Minerva, but that was before the girl went and stabbed the Pope! The townsfolk don’t even know of her existence!”

“Wait, Milo-“

“Minerva! Please! You’re giving me a migraine! Just leave and do what I told you!”

“Sorry, Milord. As you wish.”

I swear, for an Owlkin she’s awfully stupid. I couldn’t count how many times I had to repeat myself around her. My idiot maid aside, Ren really threw a wrench in everyone’s lives, huh? I didn’t think they had it in them. This attacking of the Pope and the Castle made me certain that this girl was Ren. I don’t know about her circumstances, nor do I care, but she made herself known to me. It was simple. Ren always disliked the Church, but they relied on the Church to transport them home. I could assume that something went wrong, or maybe the Church punished him for insolence, possibly treachery. It pained me that I could not know everything, but I might be too powerful if that was the case. Regardless, Ren is still here. And that means I can use them.

One thing that certainly intrigued me was her subclass. A Mage. The fact that she even has two classes was an anomaly, but how does a Mage and Rogue blend together? A magical thief type, maybe? Using magic to detect traps or pick locks could be useful for a Rogue. Would Ren even use her magic? I would need to look more into this.

I clapped three times. In an instant, a middle-aged, Owlkin man appeared before me.

“Hello, Jupiter.”

“Milord.”

“Unlike your idiot daughter, you have some brains, so I need you to do me a favor.”

“Of course, Milord.”

“I need you to find every piece of information about subclasses and what they do. If there are people who are alive with them, bring them here. And documents come straight to me. I don’t care how you get them. Make sure this happens.

“I will do so without fail, Lord Fujimoto.”

“Good.”

Hello! Here's the next set of perspectives! Wait, "set"? Yes, as it is so obviously visible, I combined Daigo's and Fujimoto's bonus chapters. I figured their parallels, whatever they may be, could work well in one reading. Plus, there simply wasn't enough content (that I wanted to reveal) to keep them both as standalone chapters, so it works out. You all now get two new perspectives to think on, woohoo! Of course, I'll apologize for the lack of any new chapters, things have been crazy, but I still hope you all look forward to more. Flavio is next, with his own chapter next time (even if it may be short), I promise.

I'll stop rambling now.

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