Chapter 378: The Rise of the Shield Hero
“What the hell is this?”
I unintentionally raise a laugh.
What I got my hands on and read was a book titled Rock Valley’s Heroic Legend.
Right now, the store I’m in is the Rock Valley Book Store.
It appears to be a magic shop, but they sell normal books too.
While I stand there reading, a child who looks like Elena comes up and talks to me.
I silently point to the page and furrow my brow.
“It’s quite a terrible story.”
“There are a few things that diverge from reality here.”
The person Glass’s waiting for is a woman.
Most of the monsters are attributed as concepts of the whole race. I feel sorry for the actual ones.
Firo and Raph-chan look at me in wonder as I give a bitter smile.
“Hmm? Your guys’ existences are in doubt, it seems.”
It’s mean to call them a collection of monsters with the same name.
Why can’t they just see her as a Filo Rial?
“But it’s been a while since I’ve come to this world. Quite a bit has changed.”
I walk out of the book store and look at the sky.
A giant tree towers over the surroundings.
So that’s Rock Valley’s special god tree, is it?
Since it was written that Kiel was protecting it… I strain my eyes and try to focus on it.
… Yep. It’s the crepe tree.
“Raphtalia, that tree is disgusting, so go level it to the ground. Kiel isn’t here anymore, so it’s fine.”
“I don’t want to. And if we do that, it’ll start an uproar!”
“I’ll bet. But as I thought, I can’t get used to that tree.”
And when I watch the traffic on the road, I see quite a few familiar races walking around.
After defeating the Bitch Goddess, when the Spirits pressed me for an answer, I chose everything.
Something close to the Bitch’s fragments. I divided parts of me between this world and the modern one. Raphtalia, Atlas, and I, who would be able to use our godly powers to protect the world, went on a journey following the Spirits’ words.
After that, a lot has happened.
It’s because the rules vary by the world.
We exist as a spiritual force to protect worlds from invading gods.
Because of that, we’ve battled in as many places as there are stars in the sky.
The rule that eight worlds had to combine for the god to descend existed in some worlds, and did not in others.
But without corresponding to that rule, well, we pretty much descended to the absolute limit the world would permit.
Once we figured out just where the god was pulling the strings, we would bring him down before he could do anything else.
And with the repetition of battles like that, the months and years passed before I knew it.
That fragment was pretty much me sending myself on a holiday.
The one who took up permanent residence in the world experienced various happenings every day, but in the end, it seems he had a fun life.
And now, he’s returned to me.
After he died, it seems much has happened in this world.
But unfair calamities like the wave didn’t come about again.
In all the worlds I resolved matters in, I erected a barrier so no god could descend again.
Me being in this world after so long is like a well-deserved holiday.
I mean, with all that’s happened, I’m tired.
Arc even said I could take a break if I wanted to.
That cat occasionally saves us, and is occasionally saved by us.
There are plenty of worlds where it would have been dangerous if he wasn’t there.
And there are plenty of worlds that would have been in danger without us.
While similar to mine, his fighting style is on another level.
He specializes in killing gods, and he’s no good in anything else.
Instead of getting into a war of attrition between gods, he has a convenient ability where he just kills them.
But in exchange, bluntly, if it was someone from the world, even a baby could beat him.
It seems he works by logic like that.
Well, if it has to do with punching, I guess I can’t beat a baby either.
In exchange, Raphtalia fights for me, though.
Ah, I digressed.
Anyways, as a god, I’ve devoted myself to fighting.
Should I call this my main body?
“Is Rock Valley a monarchy? Or a republic? An empire? Each history book seems to differ a bit.”
“I bet it’s had a long history. Firo, do you know anything about that?”
“Hmm… when Firo was with Mel-chan, it was a monarchy.”
Fumu… Firo’s memory ability is a bit dubious, but I’ll rely on it.
Ah, that’s right.
We’ve paid a visit to this world after all this time.
When I was relying on the memories of my fragment to walk the streets, Firo and Raph-chan sensed my presence and appeared.
Their existences were doubted, but they’re right here.
But… Raphshild… the Raph race has gotten quite the grand name.
Ah, I spotted one… it’s a tanuki-esque bear.
It’s pulling a carriage and letting children ride on its back.
It looks like it’s treated as a sociable, docile monster.
But it doesn’t appear to have much battle prowess.
This is like a Filo Rial that wasn’t raised by Heroes, I guess.
I also sense that Gaelion’s still here.
I guess I’ll drop by later.
Right now, I’m in the country, Rock Valley.
I’m not really sure if it’s an empire or a republic.
But it looks like it’s a peaceful country.
People resembling Kiel’s puppy mode are taking care of the crepe tree.
The crepes that grow from it are this country’s specialty, just by raising your hand into the air, you can eat them.
Well, all that means is that this disgusting tree is towering over the world.
Around it, a large castle town spreads out.
It faces the sea, and it was once… Raphtalia’s birthplace
Right now, it functions as a sort of port city.
“You’re in human shape, but you won’t take up your Filo Rial form?”
Well, I guess it’ll cause an uproar if she does it here.
I mean, she’s supposed to be a legendary bird.
“Well, you see, this place is a bit narrow.”
Is that so?
I guess she’s grown quite big.
“Yeah, Raph-chan is the same.”
When I reunited with Raph-chan, I was shocked.
He was standing in quite a remote place.
The entire Raph-race came to greet us, and we were led to a tanuki the size of a mountain.
It took a while for me to notice it was Raph-chan.
Right now, he’s transformed to the same size as when we first met.
“Firo, you see. Firo finally found master again. Don’t leave me alone this time.”
“Ah, yes, yes.”
Does Firo even realize just how much time has passed since then?
She doesn’t seem any different than before.
Well, her essence is getting closer to that of a God’s, and I do think she’ll be able to breach the wall around the world.
She’s become able to clad herself in fire as she flies, and when a Bird of fire greeted us as we approached the world, I was surprised.
I think that form’s one of her transformations, but I wonder.
“Raph-chan says he wants to protect this world from the shadows, so he’ll stay home.”
“I see, I see. Good boy, Raph-chan. Unlike some bird who doesn’t mature no matter how many centuries pass.”
It’s you. You.
I pat an embarrassed Raph-chan as I walk around the city.
The unfamiliar townscape. But there were some familiar things, and they bring back some deep emotions.
“Is Fitoria still around?”
“Yeah, she’s really annoying. She keeps telling Firo to just succeed her already. She says she wants to retire.”
I think that bird has lived long enough, but she has eternal youth.
I guess Firo drank that medicine too.
But it would be uncouth to ask about the others.
I’ll bet Firo’s met with many a painful farewell.
“Master is too mean. You did so many things with everyone, but never with Firo.”
Firo starts talking about this and that with a pouty expression.
“You said Mel-chan was there, so it was no good, but you did stuff with Mel-chan too.”
“Please, just leave it at that. I’ll be with you for a while now, right?” (Naofumi)
I pat the top of Firo’s head.
In a good mood, Firo quiets down.
As not to lose, Raph-chan climbs up to the top of my head and strikes a pose.
“Ah, yes, yes. You too, Raph-chan.”
After patting them for a while, my mood improves too.
“Naofumi-sama, please pat me as well.”
Atlas comes from within the Shield and volunteers herself.
“You get pat every day, don’t you?”
“Even if it’s every day, that doesn’t mean it’s enough.”
“Firo wants to be with master. This time, you’ll take me along, right!?”
“Got it, got it.”
Now, this world only has a handful of people who know me.
Like that, I walk around the city normally, and no one noticed I was the Hero of the Shield.
No, perhaps it’s at the level where they think I’m cosplaying a legendary Hero.
The culture doesn’t actually seemed to have advanced that far.
Well, I guess magic-based societies are something like that.
According to Firo and Raph-chan, they’re in a cycle of prosperity and decline.
They’ve created flying carriages and ships and set foot into the realm of the sky, so does that mean the world has advanced?
But that period had planes, so I don’t really feel anything about it.
Melty’s bloodline, Kiel’s, as well as Sadina’s exist, but they separate from royalty, and are reinstated at some times. It’s a cycle of something like that.
After the Heroes died, this world still relies on Hero Summoning quite a bit.
The Four Holy… no, now, is it the Eight? Anyways, they call for them, and sometimes summon vassal Heroes too.
But there’s no record of a Hero of the Shield appearing after me, which has become a famous topic of discussion.
“It sure is peaceful.”
The weather is nice, and I can hear the birds calling out happily.
We walk to the major road, and I make a light lunch in the grassy plains outside before presenting it to Raph-chan and Firo.
They were very satisfied with the first meal I made for them by hand in a long time.
“What should we do, Raphtalia?”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you want to lead a peaceful life here again?”
If it’s just for a while, I think I can get permission to rest.
If it’s just for about a hundred years, it would just be like a normal Sunday for us.
I mean, we’ve been fighting consecutive battles for a while, and I think the Spirits will wait for us.
“We could have some children in this world and build a stable household until they become independent.”
Just like the us that stayed in the modern world, and the us that stayed here, I get the feeling we could start something here.
I mean, despite everything, making a village was… fun.
Witch and the discrimination I faced are bitter memories, but besides that, my days were quite fun.
“This time, let Firo in~!”
“Me too!” (Atlas)
“Ah, yes, yes.” (Naofumi)
I ignore the three unrelated parties and ask Raphtalia.
“That sounds nice…”
Thinking back, we’ve come a long way.
It was a choice I made as not to regret, but it’s not like I never had regrets.
Mourning for the deaths of those close to me truly was sad.
But more than that, I encountered many people in many worlds, experienced many partings, and received many thanks.
“… But our battle still continues. For the people who are shedding tears due to a selfish being calling itself God, we have to keep moving forward.”
“… That’s right.”
I can make a fragment for a change of pace if I want.
I can just have him enjoy this world in my place.
Right now, we carry the duty of quelling the waves caused by those proclaiming to be gods. We’re more like concepts than anything else.
So, we can’t stop moving forward… I see.
I guess I should rest in moderation.
In the worst case scenario, I can do a time warp and meet the people of this world: Melty, Sadina, Kiel, Fohl.
It’s not like I’ve left for eternity.
“Ah, it seems there’s another person planning world assimilation.”
Raphtalia receives a request for support from another god hunter.
Right, just like Arc, we have comrades who share the same goal as us.
Though, I’ve never seen ones who are acting from the Spirits’ requests like us.
Within them, there are people who betray, and people who have changes of heart. How many times have I been deceived…
Luckily, I’m still here and safe.
This time, one of those comrades is asking for help.
Of course, I intend to go there immediately.
I can’t let them lose to those that perpetuate such unfairness.
Because that is our will.
It’s fine. I have Raphtalia.
I have a world, a world I have to protect.
I have Firo, and everyone else.
I can’t meet them at this moment, but it’s not like we’ll never meet again.
But those that claim to be god can even erase the past.
And so… I will protect everyone.
“Then to refresh ourselves, let’s leave a fragment and go.”
In this world, where we’ve become legends who’ve saved the world, let’s have a light hearted adventure.
If the world is troubled by war, I’ll bet we can achieve peace.
It’s fine. I’m the Hero of the Shield. This world will give me a warm welcome.
And I’ll get deceived again.
… That sounds likely. I’m a little worried.
“Firo wants to go with Master.”
Raph-chan is waving his hand.
Next time we come, will we be bringing Raph-chan with us?
We leave a fragment behind, and leap through dimensions.
This time, Firo’s with us.
I’m with my nostalgic comrades, and I feel that my motivation’s raised itself a bit.
If I think about it, I was just an Otaku college student who was put under false charges and thrown penniless into another world. From there, I got up to being a noble, and even a God.
This truly is the Rise of the Shield Hero.
“Okay! Raphtalia, Atlas, Firo, I’ll be in your care from here on as well!”
Our battle still goes on.
For the lives lost without reason, we will continue to protect.
From here on… eternally…