And a third chapter. Yay. A little bit faster than one chapter a week. Unless I missed a chapter before, then I’m back on track. Unless I missed more than one before, then I am still behind. Whatever the case, this is the third chapter for today. And this is all I’ve got for now. Enjoy.
The Preceding Hero’s Fear
「That’s why, I won’t forgive you. Just as you won’t forgive me, I also won’t forgive you.」
Bernadette turned a sharp gaze towards Fiona as if to say that she was returning the favor for being glared at before.
「Ignoring Yashiro-san’s feelings, and telling him to continue fighting, I won’t forgive you.」
「It’s not like I have any thoughts of wanting to be forgiven. 」
Fiona replied to Bernadette’s words sounding uninterested.
「I understand your reason for traveling with Yuu, and your feelings. But, ……in the end, Yuu is just running away. From his fate, from his mission……From Olivia, he is just running away.」
Bernadette could only keep her mouth silent to Fiona’s seemingly sad face as she said that.
「Yuu is scared. Of living as the Hero again, and being betrayed by people. Of reaching the point of hating and detesting people again. And then, of facing Olivia.」
「Why, didn’t you save us?」
In a certain village that they stopped by in the middle of their journey.
That place, before the party that Yuu and Olivia started could help them, was ruined by a group of monsters. The sole surviving little girl turned her dark, sluggish eyes at Yuu, and
「……Unforgivable. Unforgivable unforgivable unforgivable unforgivable unforgivable unforgivable unforgivable unforgivable unforgivable. Both Hero-sama and Saint-sama, even though you said that you would protect us. Unforgivable unforgivable unforgivable.」
The little girl had her heart broken, and committed suicide as she spat out curses.
Yuu resented the monsters, and continued the journey while being frightened by the little girl’s curses.
There was a village that persecuted demi-humans like Elves and Dwarves.
The villagers treated demi-humans as if they were slaves, exploited them, and furthermore ostracized them.
The party resented them, but because it was the village’s law, the villagers stopped thinking about it and continued persecuting them.
Seeing the demi-humans that had bruises all over their bodies and that looked at them with eyes that seemed to fear them, Yuu felt anger towards the villagers.
There was a feudal lord that placed a heavy tax on his citizens and filled his pockets by taking advantage of his position.
Yuu saw a too skinny, starving child that was younger than him crouching on the roadside.
Sylvia and the others were riled up and went up against the country, but there was no choice but to give up.
Together with a sense of helplessness, Yuu came to possess hatred against aristocrats that imposed tyrannical rule.
A comrade that he had traveled together with him, Zephyr, had betrayed him.
Because of the Magician that desired power simply due to greed, an unhealable injury was left on Olivia’s back.
Yuu came to possess suspicion against even his comrades.
There was a village that tricked the party.
They had been threatened by Mazoku, but to protect themselves more than anything, they sold out Yuu’s group that was fighting for the sake of the people to the Mazoku.
After having climbed over the trap while losing some precious comrades in the fight, when he saw the people quickly change their attitudes and come obsequious with them, Yuu became unable to figure out the meaning of his own existence.
「Is there really superiority or inferiority between fellow living beings?」
Seeing the religious organization turn demi-humans and heretics into slaves, Yuu muttered that.
「What, am I fighting for?」
It wasn’t because he wanted to receive gratitude. It wasn’t because he wanted to sell favors.
But, it wasn’t like he wanted to be betrayed.
Having his heart, his feelings betrayed, Yuu muttered that while in tears.
「Is there, any value in being saved to a person?」
Gloomily muddying his black eyes just like that little girl, Yuu muttered that with a cracked voice.
The one who saved that Yuu, ……the heart of that Yuu whose heart was broken, who had accumulated only hatred for people, who was about to become the second Demon Lord, the one who saved him was Olivia.
By simply holding him tight, caressing his head, being beside him, Olivia continued to turn a gentle smile towards Yuu.
That was all. Nothing more than that.
However, to the Yuu of that time, that warmth was what he wanted more than anything else.
There are times where people would hurt other people. Where they would make each other suffer.
However, in the same way as that, no, even more than that, people were able to heal other people.
Having come to understand that, Yuu decided to bet on the hearts of people.
If it were the people that possessed this warmth, the world should change in a good direction.
Yuu roused himself, and fought with the Demon Lord for the sake of the people’s future. All while knowing that beyond that, his own future would be gone.
But at the end of that, Yuu lost the one that taught him about the warmth of people, Olivia.
Guessing Yuu’s true feelings as he staked his own future for the sake of the people’s future and planned for mutual destruction with the Demon Lord, Olivia became an existence that was only a soul, entrapped the Demon Lord, and produced Yuu’s future.
「……So I’m running away, huh.」
Yuu muttered that in a small voice. It was because in the middle of his snoring and sleeping in the same tent as the shorty and the tall lanky person that were Angelica’s subordinates, he heard the voices of Fiona and Bernadette who were on watch.
「……I’m the worst, aren’t I.」
It was at times like this that he came to hate his own inhuman physical abilities.
……And then, hearing Bernadette’s feelings, he came to hate himself.
He knew about Bernadette’s feelings.
He didn’t know the reason why he was liked. But, Yuu had noticed the awakening of love that Bernadette had towards him.
Upon noticing it, he pretended to not have perceived it.
It was because he felt that he would probably not be able to fall in love with any woman besides Olivia.
Right now, even after learning that Bernadette’s feelings weren’t his own false impressions, he wasn’t welling up with happiness.
Ahh, so it really was like that.
Thinking that, it was enough for him to feel disgust at how cold he was to it.
And then, there was Fiona’s words.
……That was exactly it.
He was running away. Yuu was, running away from everything.
From the world, from his comrades……From Olivia.
The truth was that he needed to properly face them all.
And yet, he was running away.
Because he was scared.
Of having that feeling once more……That feeling of starting to hate people.
That feeling of, becoming unable to trust his comrades.
And then……if at the time he became like that again, would he properly return to how he was.
Olivia who had saved him at that time was no longer there.
She became only a soul, and confined the Demon Lord.
As long as Olivia wasn’t there, there was no next time. Next time, wouldn’t he himself change into the Demon Lord?
He was apprehended by such a fear.