Side Story 4 – A Certain Group of Heroes’ Manual Labour
On the second floor of the Evil God Temple, a group of six men and women were gathered before a certain room.
The group comprised three men, and three women, and was in a sense the group that was least fitting to be here.
“Umm, is this the place?”
“Yes. In accordance to Sacred Goddess-sama’s esteemed words, I believe there is no mistake.”
“But still, this place, ey? Why’d Sacred Goddess-sama tell us to come to a place like the Evil God Temple, anyways?”
“Beats me. Having said that though, if it’s to get Arc’s Holy Sword back, of course we had to go.”
“I need my Holy Spear back too, after all.”
“I as well. Without my Holy Bow in hand, I really can’t be said to be fit for the title Hero.”
They were Hero of the Holy Sword, Arc’s party; Hero of the Holy Spear, Lionel; and Hero of the Holy Bow, Orlaine; a total of six members. However, ever since they failed to capture the “Holy Land of the Evil God” and had their weapons stolen from them, their titles now felt a little ironic.
Holy Weapons that served as both the symbols of the Heroes and the source of their powers──weapons blessed by Light God Sophia that chose their owners. Instead of wielders choosing their weapons, it was the weapons themselves that chose and acknowledged the wielders as their owners.
And those acknowledged by these weapons became existences chosen by Light God Sophia, and gained the title of Hero. Arc, Lionel and Orlaine as well had become Heroes in this way.
Because of that, they were Heroes only because of their Holy Weapons, and therefore it was because they were heroes that they ought to be holding their Holy Weapons. Just as Orlaine had said, having their weapons stolen was a fatal defeat for a Hero, and even if they were verbally abused, there was nothing they could say in return.
“It won’t return even when I call for it… Just what on earth has happened to my Holy Bow?”
“Yeah, usually when we call for them they immediately come back, ey?”
In reply to Orlaine’s anxious words, the blue haired Lionel agreed.
The Holy Weapons were the ones who chose the owners, and on top of absolutely nobody else being capable of using them, even if they weren’t in hand, they would immediately fly towards the owner once called for.
Knowing this, when the Heroes had failed the dungeon and woken up without them, they had tried calling for the weapons countless times. However, the Holy Weapons would not return.
When it came to Orlaine, until Arc and the others had stopped her, she called for the Holy Bow again and again until her light purple hair was a mess and her eyes were filled with tears, but there wasn’t any effect.
“I’m sure it’ll be fine. Sacred Goddess-sama told me that I would be able to recover my Holy Sword if I came here. In that case, the Holy Sword should be safe.”
“It would be good if that was true…”
The blonde haired Arc tried to cheer her up, but Orlaine hung her head, perhaps still worried. To begin with, as a frail girl chosen by the Holy Bow to be a Hero, she had strained herself to fulfil her duties. She was probably emotionally unstable due to the shock of losing the crucial Holy Bow.
“It’s fine. I haven’t broken the Holy Sword, the Holy Spear, or the Holy Bow either.”
While the Heroes were talking, a voice called out from behind them.
Thinking that they hadn’t noticed somebody enter the room because they were too focused on themselves, the party turned around in surprise.
And standing there was a black-haired girl clad in a jet black dress decorated with rose designs.
The moment they saw the girl’s black eyes, a shudder ran through them all.
The blood dramatically left them, and they had goosebumps all over their bodies. Their throats felt parched, and their teeth chattered. Around the time their limbs began to tremble of their own accord, their whole bodies started letting out a cold sweat, as though finally remembering to do so.
It was impossible to beat this girl… Even if they had their Holy Weapons, it was impossible to beat this girl.
Up until that moment, the strongest foe they had ever met was the one currently on standby deep below on the 30th floor, but from this girl standing in front of them they could feel a power even greater than the despair-inducing Imperial Death.
Their instincts, emotions and intellect… the fear experienced by all of these seemed to crush for an instant the pure and strong hearts of these Heroes. But this was certainly not because they were weak of spirit. Had they been so, they would have immediately escaped the moment they met her eyes. The very fact that they still remained there was a testament to their strength.
And how they responded was by dropping on the spot, getting on their hands and knees, and pressing their head against the floor. It was the pose of ultimate apology, passed down in the legends of the Heroes──the dogeza.
Because the people around her had gotten used to averting their own eyes, the girl had half-forgotten about her own mystic eyes and she reflexively muttered an apology in front of the resulting dogeza festival.
The girl――Anri, told them to get up while avoiding her eyes, as well as the gist of her mystic eyes. It was only a while after her first appearance that they were able to have a conversation.
There was a small upset when Anri named herself as a relative of the Evil God, but after showing her adventurer card and having them confirm that she was a human, they didn’t ask anything more.
Normally a relative of the Evil God wasn’t something that the Heroes could overlook, but because she was somebody they met at the place that the Light God had told them to visit, the fact that they couldn’t do anything careless was one of the reasons they didn’t inquire further.
The second reason was that there was something even more important to them in her earlier words.
“Then, you have the Holy Sword right now!?”
“The Holy Spear too?”
“And the Holy Bow!?”
Hearing Anri mention the locations of the Holy Weapons, the Heroes reflexively let out cries of surprise.
“Please, return them to us!”
Arc held Anri’s hand in his two, and desperately appealed to her. Normally in a situation like this the two would be looking at each other in the eyes, but because they were making sure not to do so, it looked terrible comical from the side.
The one who had been most shaken due to the loss of their Holy Weapon was Orlaine, but inside, it was Arc that was most anxious. And a big part of that was because unlike Orlaine and Lionel who did their work solo, Arc worked in a party. In the end, it was nothing more than a personal problem for Orlaine and Lionel, but to Arc it was causing inconvenience to his party members, so it couldn’t be helped.
“I’m fine with giving them back, but there will be conditions.”
“Oi, oi, whaddya mean conditions?”
Zio showed his dissatisfaction towards Anri’s words.
From his point of view, the mission of the Heroes was to protect the Human Race, so just the thought of being uncooperative was unthinkable, but that had nothing to do with Anri.
“…Please tell me them. If there’s anything I can do, I will!”
“…I will too!”
“Can’t be helped. Pisses me off, but just say it.”
The Heroes resolved themselves with tragic expressions, and Anri simply informed them of the condition.
“Help me build my house.”
The six of them were wondering if they had heard wrong, but Anri’s reply didn’t change.
After asking for the third time, the Heroes finally understood that she was serious, and Anri gave them a simple explanation of the situation.
In order for Anri to move out of the temple that she was living in, she needed her house to be built, so in return for the Holy Weapons that she received from the Evil God, she wanted them to help her with the construction.
“So uh, basically construction work? Soz, but I’ve never done that before. Don’t think I’ll be much help, yanno?”
“I have professionals hired as well. Just helping with the heavy lifting and other simple work is enough.”
Lionel voiced his doubts, but Anri expected such a question, and replied with a nod.
“Heroes as labourers, huh…”
“The image is a little…”
“No, that doesn’t matter! It’s not like we’re doing anything bad, so if that’s all we have to do it’s still cheap.”
Frey and Widdi showed their disapproval, but Arc replied as though shaking off the thought. He had been deeply anxious about what kind of job the Evil God’s relative would demand from him, so the construction work was quite the anticlimax.
To a person like him who wanted to help those who needed it, he felt like it was something he would be fine with helping with even without the deal with the Holy Sword.
“Well, can’t be helped, ey? If it’s just manual labour, I think I can do it too, after all.”
“Eh? Wait, Zio. It’s to get back my Holy Sword, so it’s enough that only I work, right?”
“What are you being so distant for. Either way, we aren’t gunna be working until you get the Holy Sword back, so it’d be better to get it back quickly, right?”
“Well, it’s like Zio says. Widdi and I wouldn’t be too useful for manual labour, but there should be other stuff we can help out with. Right, Widdi?”
“Of course. We’ll help out as well! We won’t let you work alone, Arc-sama.”
Seeing Arc’s party reaffirm their bonds, Orlaine and Lionel looked a little envious as they looked on.
Also, because of the sudden addition to her workers, Anri was mentally pumping her fist in victory.
“Well, that’s how it is. I’m fine with it.”
“I am as well. Even if I look like this, I do work out, so I can do physical work as well!”
Both Lional and Orlaine agreed, and the six of them agreed to help Anri build her house.
“Thanks. The personnel involved in building the house are gathered in that room over there, so just follow their instructions. The planning stage should be just about finished.”
“Yeah, got it.”
At this point, they all realised why they had been sent here.
After watching Anri leave, the six of them fired themselves up, and opened the door before them.
And then closed it.
“Oi, what the hell was that battlefield!?”
Zio let out anxious words after catching a glimpse of what was beyond the door.
Indeed; it was a battlefield.
A number of people were gathered around a model mansion in the middle of the room, and vehemently arguing, while a mountain of discarded blueprints lay to the side.
When they saw the workers frantically run about as angry roars flew about the room, for some reason the six of them saw themselves overlapped with it, and chills ran down their spines.
And that image became a reality.
The door that they had closed on reflex was opened with a bang, and from inside the room came a blonde young man in a luxurious priests’ gown.
“You must be the workers that Anri-sama spoke of! Huhuhu, we have been waiting for you!”
The blonde man had handsome looks, but the dark bags under his eyes put it to waste. Probably on a high from pulling multiple all-nighters fuelled on enthusiasm alone, the man continued to talk happily as the dumbfounded six looked on.
“We were just starting to run short of workers! Quickly, quickly! Please come inside!”
With those words, the young man──Pope Harvin, took their rears at a speed invisible even to the veteran Heroes, and began pushing the six of them into the room.
“Hey-, hang on!?”
“S-, Stop it!”
“T-, This isn’t a joke, you know!?”
“N-, No way, oi…”
Having finally understood that it was no simple construction work, the six of them tried to escape in a panic, but the Pope paid no heed to the pitiful sacrifices, and forcefully pushed them in the room before closing the door.
Also, while Anri had no idea, the plans had at some point upgraded from “house” to “palace” and although the time the six of them needed to work had risen in proportion, it was already too late.