It was a life with no wants. My parents who went to a tennis club each weekend were healthy, and our family wasn’t in such dire straits that I needed to study and work part-time at the same time.
Fantasy, games, novels, movies, comics…
I was an ordinary high schooler who liked these things.
That’s how it definitely was until ten years ago.
“I can’t understand even now after ten years have passed. Why me? Fantasy worlds are supposed to be the welfare center for the disabled that saves social outcasts, the Greenpeace that helps the disadvantaged.”
Clearly that’s how it was in fantasy novels and comics.
For instance, someone bullied at school?
For instance, a shut-in?
Summoning those B-rank humans who found it difficult to live on Earth to a fantasy world, giving material and spiritual support so that they could live a rosy life… Looking back on it now, the way these stories played out was truly retarded.
That’s why this had to be a mistake.
“Listen carefully. I lived just fine on Earth. I was a cultured citizen who shared and discussed novels and comics with friends everyday.”
No, my circumstances were better than my school friends. I was a bourgeois who could majestically spend 100 won in front of my friends who went around looking for free events and illegal downloads.
Now, if only my face had been a little more handsome… No, never mind.
“Why is someone like me treated the same as those losers in life? You also think this is wrong, don’t you?”
I looked down at a fallen comrade, seeking agreement.
Of course, they had no hope of surviving as I had crushed their heart for certain. But the glaring light in their eyes alone was quite lively. Had this been the law-governed country Korea, somebody who witnessed this scene of slaughter would have reported it to the police and things would have become troublesome, however…
This place wasn’t Earth.
A fantasy world ruled by those with power.
A utopia for savages.
It was a world where, as long as you had the physical strength, whether it be money, glory, power, women… anything could be had or stolen.
Even the vehement words full of malice spat by my comrade couldn’t shake me. All it was to me, was like the barking of some dog.
“Calling the hero-nim who will be slaying the Demon King that threatens humanity crazy. Aren’t you touched in the head?”
I was a hero. Someone who was chosen as the apostle of justice. It wasn’t a title I decided on. The natives of this worlds summoned me here and called me as such as they pleased. Saying that I was the hero of legend who would save the world.
“Somebody like you isn’t a hero…! Cough!”
“Are those your last words?”
There was no retort from that comrade who had vomited blood from between their lips. They were no longer able to glare at me with anger.
I turned my back on the comrade, with whom I had shared lasting bad blood, without regret. The corpses of my other comrades had long been scattered around the place, lying on the cold ground.
They were heroes who were overwhelmingly stronger than me at one time. But at present, after 10 years have passed since my forced summon to this fantasy world, they were no match for me one-on-one.
So I killed them.
Right before the battle with the last boss, the Demon King.
I slew them cleanly by surprise.
“Oi. Try talking again if you happen to be alive.”
“Weren’t you going to kill me as well after killing the Demon King? Pah! Who are you kidding.”
I was able to win thanks to a difference in values. To my comrades this fantasy world was their home where they were born and raised in. If the hero lost to the Demon King then their family, friends and lovers would be at the mercy of the demons, so they couldn’t thoughtlessly lay a hand on him.
But me on the other hand?
It wasn’t my business as to how this world ended up.
I was going to kill the Demon king and return to Earth, to my family.
Now, there was no obstructions blocking my way.
Scattered flesh and pieces of bones were scattered left and right in the dark hallway. The pools of blood that had gathered on the stone floor thickly drenched my shoes. There were corpses of humans, corpses of monsters, and corpses of demons who looked somewhat similar to humans.
They had all perished together harmoniously.
For the sake of sending the hero past this point.
For the sake of protecting the Demon King beyond this point.
“H-, Hero-nim. Why…?”
Ah, there was a survivor?
The mercenary leaning against the cold wall, dying, asked me this. A close follower of the Mercenary King, I remembered him as a pleasant fellow who would hum a song even in the most dire of situations.
His name was probably… Let’s call him Mercenary A.
Having stopped my steps, I answered Mercenary A in a reassuring tone.
“Why did I kill my comrades? Worry not. I’ll take care of the Demon King by myself. My condition is at its peak too now that those bothersome comrades of mine are gone.”
“You’re not humming a song today.”
I hummed a song through my nose in place of Mercenary A as I moved through the hallway. I merrily hopped over the corpses and obstructions that blocked the way.
My footsteps were light like that of a young lady who had come out for a stroll in a beautiful flower garden. Wouldn’t I be soaring in the air if I weren’t wearing the scale armor made for me by the Dragon King?
It wasn’t just my body that was in joy.
The me of today was in an amazingly good mood. I could swear that I didn’t feel as good as now even when I had embraced the number one beauty of the continent.
I channeled that pleasure and-
I kicked open the splendid-looking doors barring my path with all my might.
Beyond the door which couldn’t withstand my kick and was destroyed. The Demon King’s audience chamber was so spacious that it you wouldn’t believe it was indoors. But a single intact furniture came into sight, not to mention any demons.
That’s why it stood out even more.
“So you have finally reached this place! Oh chosen hero!”
At the opposite end from the entrance of the audience chamber. The man who had been sitting on a throne decorated with gems of various colors slowly stood up as he warmly welcomed me.
Above his pointy ears was a pair of horns which symbolized demons, but they were larger and more splendidly ornamented than any other demon’s I had seen to this point. I could easily guess at the status of my opponent just by this feature alone.
“You’re the Demon King?”
“Indeed! I am the very pinnacle of all evil! I am Pedonar, the one who will plunge this world in darkness!”
A black miasma burst from the Demon King’s body after he finished his self-introduction. Seeing that powerful performance of his, I grew convinced that he wasn’t one of those clones, fakes that I had slain to the point of getting sick and tired these past 10 years.
Demon King Pedonar.
My train ticket to Earth.
He wouldn’t know just how eagerly I had anticipated this moment.
“Haha! Hero. Those eyes longing for victory are truly to my liking! Very well! I shall accept humanity’s challenge…!”
“There’s something I want to ask before we fight, you see. Why is it that you merely stood by and watched the deaths of your subordinates?”
It was a question which I had constantly harbored for the past 10 years.
The Demon King before me was the very person who had let me run amok as I liked. There would forever be no chance to ask this question if I didn’t do so now.
Demon King Pedonar frowned in response, his good humour soured.
“Merely stood by? How unpleasant. I have always dispatched stronger subordinates in order to take revenge.”
“And they died.”
“So I sent even stronger subordinates.”
“And they died again.”
“Hero. Are you dissatisfied at having luckily survived?”
Demon King Pedonar rebuked in a dumbfounded tone. The way he looked at me as if I was truly foolish caused a burst of emotions in me.
So I returned tit for tat without losing.
“If Demon King-nim acted in the beginning, I wouldn’t have been able to reach this point?”
During the past 10 years, the Demon King had lost many things.
The plan to overthrow the kingdom, the plot to assassinate a hero, loyal subordinates, an outstanding son, beautiful slaves, a first-rate elite demon legion, superior equipment, treasures that were piled up like a mountain, large territory…
So many that even an account book wouldn’t suffice to record them all!
And each time he lost something grew stronger.
My biggest sponsor wasn’t humanity, but the Demon King.
“Hero. Such speculations are meaningless.”
“They aren’t meaning…”
“Do you know the politics of demons? Be silent otherwise.”
Words were futile with the Demon King.
The question which I had harbored for 10 years couldn’t be solved until the end.
Every time I ventured into temples, labyrinths, ruins and the like that were prepared for the hero who would enter someday, there were no problems even without the ‘power of friendship’ which I never heard the end of.
I was strong even without something to protect.
My earnest goal of escaping this barbaric fantasy world and returning to the cultured citizen of Earth was enough motivation for me. Those 10 years of endurance didn’t fail me. I didn’t need trivial, cheap tricks.
“Krgh! Hero. Does this mighty power of yours come from the rage of losing your comrades…?”
“No. It’s the result of training.”
What rage would I be feeling when I was the one who killed them? Far from rage, I was feeling very refreshed.
“Is, is that so. In any case, it was an excellent fight…”
The eyes of Demon King Pedonar, who had lost in a pure head-on duel, in a clash of swords, closed slowly.
I waited without letting go of my tension.
1 second, 2 seconds, 5 seconds, 10 seconds…
But the dead Demon King didn’t move an inch. There was no development of a consolation match that went along the lines of “Now I’ll face you for real!”.
“… Are you for real? This is the end? Hello?”
I had toiled for 10 years in order to defeat the Demon King.
But it ended so simply like this?
Looking at the Demon King’s corpse which was lying face down like a matchstick, curses rose to the tip of my tongue.
I grew dispirited.
“Damn. They say the ignorant are fated to labor…”
A list of names of those bastards who had over-exaggerated the Demon King who wasn’t even all that rose in my mind, but I decided to be understanding with a generous heart. Right now, it was a waste of time to even bother with them.
I looked up toward the sky and shouted in a loud voice.
“Oh god of the fantasy world! I have defeated the Demon King as promised! Please return me to Earth now!”
There was no use in regretting the past. I thought of the things that I was going to do after returning to Earth. Being a good son, dating, games, being a gourmand, the Olympics, going on a quest for justice…
I waited to go back with an excited heart.
Yes yes. So quickly send me to Ear…
It was my first time hearing this. My intuition which had never betrayed me was ringing alarm bells, telling me that something strange was going on.
But they weren’t perfectly fine?
My comrades had meddled and imposed in everything in my life. Disregarding human rights and violence under the pretense of training were par for the course. There was even one crazy bitch who had revealed her birthday suit by her own negligence then wielded a sword at me.
If I were to make a list of the indignation and unreasonableness I went through in the past 10 years, there would really be no end to it. So that was a justified revenge…
“Return? Re-test? What bullshit is this!”
No matter how arbitrary a god could get, this wasn’t acceptable. Roll around again in this garbage dump that didn’t even have flush toilets? The comrades I had done my best to kill were going to come back to life?
The mere thought of it caused goosebumps to rise…
A suspicious light enveloped my body.