Vol. 1 SS 1 – HSP

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Empty Heart

 

From the moment I was born, there were beings following me and talking to me. At a first glance, these beings have the same appearance as humans like me. Their parents’ sizes also do not change. However, they are transparent and fly above the sky, and each have a “color” according to the type, so they are obviously not humans.

Those who are of the “wind” type are green.

Those who are of the “earth” type are brown.

Those who are of the “fire” type are red.

Those who are of the “water” type are blue.

Those who are of the “light” type are gold.

Those who are of the “darkness” type are black.

They, who have different colors of hair and eyes depending on their race, always stay by my side and bother me with their chatter.

“Greed!”

“Hey, Greed, look!”

“Yes?” I reply, and they’d smile delightedly. I don’t know what they are glad about.

It was immediately around that time when I realized that only I could see them. It was my oldest memory, when I asked my father “what they are”. I can recall clearly the reaction of my father at that time. I asked at the table during meals. Father breathed out somewhat tiredly, silently placed the spoon he held at the table and said.

“They are probably spirits…… Greed, you have a special power. It is a great power bestowed by the god.”

Mother stopped eating and watched me and Father alternately.

“We were thinking that there must be a meaning to it since you were born with that power. Otherwise, it is impossible for a couple of farmers from the countryside to have a child with a power like you…… Listen, Greed. Someday, a time will come where you will have to use that power. Because that is the reason why you were born with that power.”

Looking confused, it was as if those were Father’s words to convince his self. Those were the words that I remembered first.

And those were also words of curse.

—I was born to be given power by the god.

In other words, I do not need to exist unless I have power. I felt equivocal about myself. A person who possesses enormous powers exists for some reason and it is unnecessary to be born unless there is a reason for that.

That’s why my parents tolerated my existence while fearing my powers.

A childhood friend in the village was hugged by his parents. Scolded when he is mischievous. Praised him with a smile if he did something good. But my parents won’t do that.

Because they do not know what will happen if they hug me. Because they do not know what to do if they scold me. Because it seems they do not know how to praise me. Since they don’t know, they don’t do anything, they can’t do anything.

The spirits will protect that child. They will do something for sure.

That’s what they thought. There’s nothing we ordinary humans can do for special humans.

……That’s the circumstance; it was close to abandoning childcare.

Now that I grew up, I got to understand the confused feelings of my parents who did not know how to deal with me.

In a farming village at a remote countryside, a child was born to them who can read characters without decent education, and has received too much protection from the spirits. Every time I cry, they greatly fear that their son will cause a small tornado or an earthquake. It’s no wonder that they act with great caution. Besides, it is not only my parents who have this kind of attitude.

The adult villagers around us also treat me pretty much the same. The children of the same age as me and their parents are in such a state, so they do not approach me. Renas and Milly and their parents are the only ones who freely associated with me. Because of them, I do not feel loneliness and sadness.

To my parents, I only felt sorry for them and felt bad for having a child of bad luck like me. Even so, it was not some faint emotion, only emptiness was occupying most of my heart.

Renas and Milly would say, “You were brought up by such parents, so your emotions must have developed poorly,” but I don’t think so. For example, don’t all people who were abandoned by their parents and brought up in the orphanage grow up on their own?

I was not interested in anything and I am not confident even with the friendship Renas and Milly felt. I could only feel joy, sorrow and anger in a part of my heart, just the superficial layer. These feelings haven’t touched deep inside my heart. My emotions were not frozen.

There is simply—nothing. Just emptiness, like a gaping hole.

That was me. I thought I was somewhat broken. A defective human. I do not understand the pain of others. I do not understand compassion. I can’t understand why everyone can smile or cry. The love that Renas and Milly felt for each other and the reason why they think the other person is “special”…… I do not understand at all. I was tired of being myself.

I got to live a little bit easier after I decided to abandon my emotions since that one incident in the Lake Mainau. Until then, I was concerned about the people around me so I faked my emotions.

I observed the emotions of Renas and Milly who were closest to me. If they laugh, I’d also laugh. If they are having fun, I’d also act like I’m having fun. If they grieve, I’d also become sad. If they get angry, I’d also become irritated.

I’d synchronize emotions with them and imitate them. No feelings have ever arisen from my heart.

But in response to such false emotions, the spirits exerted their powers—

When I witnessed that all the villagers who lost the lake due to the rampage of the spirits prostrated themselves on the ground and asked for forgiveness, I realized that feelings are really a nuisance. That’s why I stopped pretending.

I broke my promise with Renas’s father, Priest Lyell, but I thought that would be better for everyone. If I have an empty heart like that of a doll, the spirits will not act recklessly. This power will not cause trouble to others.

However—at that time, the situation in the village had changed somewhat. Girls of my age, who were supposed to avoid me, were starting to follow me. I would gloomily ignore them, but it was not only women. With the women following around me, I became the subject of hostility of boys of my age, who had ignored me until now. Of course, I ignored it all.

Renas laughed and said, “It is jealousy.”

“It’s because you are popular with the girls. You perform better than anyone in whatever you do so they are jealous.”

The man involved actually said similar things.

“So irritating! What’s with that blank expression? I started learning swordsmanship earlier than you, yet why is that your improvement is ridiculing my efforts? . . . It’s so frustrating that you look as if it is natural. You don’t know how it feels. You can do anything and you have everything!”

It is certain that I learned swordsmanship and magic without much effort. On the contrary, I simply wonder why everyone could not do it.

But—

Only during this time did I want to laugh a little bit at the words of that man.

The words “You have everything.”

Surely, I have everything that guy wants. Whether it is swordsmanship or magical powers, everything was extraordinary.

—However.

What does that mean? A person who would not exist if the world does not need his power. In reality, I do not have everything.

I am empty, like a cup without a bottom. Whatever you put or pour in it, everything just goes through it.

Do I have anything?

Nothing.

……All I have is a broken, empty heart.

As what my father said, perhaps my empty heart will be filled when I discover the reason why I was born with power.

……I don’t know.

The moment I received the goddess’s blessing, everything started to move.

『Become the Hero, and bring stability to the world.

Although it is called the goddess’s blessing, it was not as impressive as what it was described in the legends. It is close to a disaster suddenly befalling without a warning.

That day, I was suddenly hit by an intense power and will of different types of spirits in a forest. It seems that it was the selection that time. I also noticed that I gained the power of a hero which I do not want. I inherited the skills that the heroes of the past had.

At the same time, I understood.

Contrary to my expectations, what was given to me was not the power to defeat the Demon King and the demons. A different power was included in it.

—It was [Creation].

It was the third power, which was neither a spirit’s not a demon’s power. In other words, the power of the hero that was bestowed by the goddess was a piece, a part of her powers. That’s the reason why I can just basically create something new. It is not a power to destroy something.

The hero is supposed to possess the ability to defeat the Demon King, but perhaps because someone from the generations of heroes received the power of the goddess, he was able to create the power that will beat the Demon King.

The hero also possesses various special skills. The sword and armor of the hero are all created by the successive generations of heroes. The goddess did not give the power to beat the Demon King nor did she provide the equipment for that.

The heroes themselves created everything using the power of the goddess. That’s why those items can only be used by those who have the same power, that is, the heroes. The conditions for the selection of the hero by the goddess is perhaps possessing magical powers and having a body that is able to endure the [Creation] skill. Only those two.

I don’t have a will or a character. Much less defeating the Demon King.

The power of the goddess was heterogeneous. The goddess who gave me the power of the hero is the one who controls the light. And yet, the power bestowed upon me does not contain any elements of light at all. The power of the hero is a completely different thing; it is not the same as the power of a demon or a human being, not to mention the power of a spirit of light.

Then what is the power of a hero? As I pondered over that, I suddenly understood that there was another aspect of the goddess of light Refelia—she is also the Creator deity. I understood. That it was a fragment of the power of creation.

—However.

“Greed is the hero!”

“Greed, you became the hero!”

“Amazing. As expected of our Greed.”

The spirits shivered with delight.

Annoying.

I don’t understand the fun in this situation. Although I was given the power of the hero, my heart still remained empty as usual. It wasn’t filled. When something was poured, it only flowed out of it.

Even though I got this kind of power, it is just troublesome. Neither the Demon King and the demons knew about it. I only have to do it as I liked. That’s what I thought.

—A change occurred.

My parents, who knew that I was chosen as the hero, looked at me with a happy face probably for the first time.

“I see. Then you being born with that power has significance after all.”

“Surely, in order to become a hero, in order to beat the Demon King, the goddess must have left a child like you to us.”

Knowing the reason why their child was born with an immense power, they felt relieved. Being just a couple of farmers, they are parents who cannot accept that their child possesses power.

“Why our child?”

“Why was he not born like a normal child?”

I am aware that they grieved in their hearts. Finally finding clear answers, they accepted me. A child that the goddess sent to the world to defeat the Demon King.  It seems that they were able to acknowledge me for the first time by thinking that they just borrowed me.

But not as their son—as the hero.

“She probably gave you power to defeat the Demon King and to bring peace to the world. It was really like that in the end.”

Old memories were revived at the words of my delighted father.

“Because that is the reason why you were born with that power.”

“The reason why I am born with that power, the reason why I am alive, is to beat the Demon King.”

That idea was deeply engraved in my mind. That is why I am convinced why I possess such power.

“That’s wrong, Greed!”

“That’s right. Your power and your birth are totally unrelated.”

“Stop thinking that defeating the Demon King is the reason of your existence. You are not a tool.”

Milly, Renas and Rufus contradicted me. I am who I am, and I don’t need reasons to exist, they said.

Then why is my heart still so empty?

Since it is just a “system of defeating the Demon King and the demons”, a heart is not necessary. Such ideas were stuck on me.

And because I received the power of the goddess, there was no choice but to become the hero. My friends were worried about me so they accompanied me in my journey. I tried to stop them because of the danger but they didn’t back down.

—From then on, my journey as a hero began.

The battle against the demons was a lot easier than I thought. It is thanks to the weapons they made through [Creation] and their skills. Thanks also to the power of the goddess, I seemed to have improved in using the powers of the spirits.

……No, the power of the spirits did not increase. The degree of our synchrony became stronger. It was always necessary to control our synchrony.

But fortunately, I was able to beat the demons at the moment just by using magic and the power of the hero. From the original four-member travelling group, the members increased to six when the elf Rufaga and the female warrior Farah joined us in the middle of our journey.

The elf Rufaga served as our guide and supervisor, while Farah offered to join in order to help awaken her childhood friend who was cursed to sleep by a demon. We complemented our abilities and worked well as a party.

In the end, we received a request to defeat a demon. There are also demons that interfered with us. Since it is one of the upper echelons, the request was gladly received as it saved us the trouble of searching for it.

Of course, I was able to defeat it.

And before we knew it, we were dubbed as the history’s strongest hero’s party.

“You are called the strongest, Greed.”

“Greed is really amazing.”

The spirits laughed boisterously. As usual, their presence was annoying but I became more familiar with them than before because I actively used their power.

—Perhaps, it was an omen of an upcoming change.

Did it start at the time we were called the strongest? I began to vaguely fear that this journey is coming to an end. Fear, anxiety, whatever it is called. But I am certain that I have never felt this emotion ever since I was born.

I am surprised myself. I have never felt afraid to fight the Demon King. I felt uneasy that my journey would end once I defeat the Demon King.

To lose the reason for my existence—

“Being born with the power to defeat the Demon King is the significance of my existence.”

That is why if the Demon King disappears from the world, I will lose the meaning of my existence. If I have to fight him for the sake of the world and humanity, if it is their dearest wish, then it must be fulfilled.

But I have not chosen to fight for the sake of the world or the humanity. It was a battle for the sake of the reason of my existence.

If my fight with the Demon King is over, what will become of me?

—An empty person. A person who has no reason to exist or to live.

Yes, that’s what I thought. I’ll return to my former self. To my broken, empty self. I will only return like before.

But somehow, I felt afraid. I don’t want to go back. I want to be someone who has a reason to live.

Therefore I hesitated to defeat the Demon King. My reason was that it is still not the right time.

I avoided squaring off against the Demon King. If the Demon King of the present age is of the same strength as the Demon Kings that the previous heroes have defeated, while knowing that it is enough to defeat him—

“They’d be shocked when they hear about the strongest hero.” I said in self-derision. Though I do not possess anything—I am afraid to lose.

……Really, having emotions is just a nuisance.

That time came. A messenger from the Kingdom of Schwarze visited the inn we were staying. The Second Princess Louise was kidnapped by a demon and they requested for our help.

……The demon probably took her for himself.

I wonder if the messenger realized that the hero who is supposed to be brave and the strongest than anyone was upset at his words.

That night, there is an unconvinced expression on my comrades’ faces, who were gathered in my room to decide on what course of action to take. It was not only I who was afraid for this journey to end. They also know that when I defeat the Demon King and the demons, I won’t have a reason to exist anymore.

That’s what I fear. About what will happen after I defeat the Demon King.

“Should we refuse?” Renas asked. “I feel bad for the kingdom of Schwarze but I think it is too early to fight the Demon King.

“Th-That’s right! I also think it’s too soon.” Milly agreed with Renas.

“Is it really the Demon King? Personally abducting someone was not done by the Demon Kings in the past.” Rufus interjected.

“But I heard that this Demon King is an eccentric. There were times that he went off on his own.” Renas added.

Their opinions were divided. Should we decline or decide after confirming the facts?

“Greed, what should we do?”

After exchanging opinions for a long time, Farah quietly asked me, who has kept silent all this time. If the opinions are divided, the leader, the hero, will decide. Because that was the established rule.

I thought for a while before I spoke.

“Let’s listen first to the story…… After determining if the demon they saw is really the Demon King—that’s the time we will decide if we should accept the request.”

The next morning, we headed to Schwarze together with the messenger on a carriage.

I did not expect the destined encounter waiting for me there.

Schwarze is a rich but a small kingdom. The castle is also small compared to the palace of Elusion. However, because of the personality of the King, it gave an overall gentle impression and my friends, majority of which were commoners, seemed to like it.

The spirits are also pleased with the people here. A calm and good nationalism can be felt. (T/N: ????)

“I will now show you to the drawing room.”

It was what the messenger said after we got off the carriage and stood at the courtyard, looking around.

“Hero-sama? ……Is it you, Hero-sama?”

A person who came out of the small entrance for employees asked me.

Reflected in my eyes was a small woman looking at me. Her light brown hair was arranged and she was dressed in a dark blue maid uniform.

……My heart pounded heavily for some reason.

“I beg you, Hero-sama……!”

That little body ran towards me as if it was bouncing. I used my [Analysis] skill at once when I saw that woman. She might be a person manipulated by demons who could potentially bring harm. Demons have red eyes which can’t be hidden even if they use magic, so they can never get close to me at all. That’s why they occasionally manipulate humans through magic. Because of that, it was customary to scan humans who approach me.

My [Analysis] skill activated and characters appeared in my mind—

《Aria Milford》

Race: Human

Occupation: Princess Louise’s lady-in-waiting

Social status: Viscount Milford’s daughter

Age: 18 years old

Hometown: South of Schwarze, Viscount of Milford’s estate

LV: 1

HP: 10

MP: 0.01

Status abnormalities: None

Skills: Tsukkomi EX

Apparently, she was not being manipulated…… What is that displayed skill [Tsukkomi EX]?

While pondering about that, she went straight into my bosom.

……Somehow, my heart pounded heavily again.

“I beg you, Hero-sama!”

Within my arms, she looked up to me and clung. The moment I looked into her brown eyes brimming with tears—the world changed.

My heart swelled.

My soul trembled.

An intense feeling overwhelmed me.

—I found it.

Emotions I have never felt filled my chest. Something overflowed.

Great joy. That pleased me.

……Something filled my empty heart. Filled it up.

“The princess was . . . The princess was abducted by a demon who claimed he was the Demon King!”

The woman in my arms appealed.

“Aria, I understand your feelings, but this is the courtyard……”

I silenced the messenger who spoke in a reproachful tone. I wanted to hear her voice more. I wanted to keep her in my arms.

“Beside me . . . Beside me, the princess was……!”

Her body that was leaning on my chest was soft and warm—my heart and body ached for those feelings.

Just like now, a lot of women have clung to me like this. Sometimes they’d confess that they like me. But my empty heart has never reacted at all. She is completely different. I don’t want to release her from the shelter of my arms. I felt the thrill of pleasure when I saw myself reflected in her brown eyes. I never thought I wanted her to burn me in her memory.

Ah, I said as I understood. This feeling is overflowing.

Is this an emotion? When you “think” about another person?

—I found it.

I acquired an emotion, my empty heart shouted.

—I found it. Something that I want. Something that I want to obtain.

—And the reason to live.

“I beg you, Hero-sama!”

She looked up at me while she still clung to me. Her teary eyes and gaze made my heart and body ache even more.

“The princess . . . Please save the princess! From the hands of the Demon King!”

—Demon King.

Even when I heard those words, I did not feel the fear and anxiety that I’ve felt up until a while ago. On the contrary, I don’t need to anymore. Because I found it. That’s why the Demon King is not needed.

I’ll defeat him quickly—for her sake.

I gently touched her back to calm her. Feeling her warmth in my hand, my heart became full.

“It’s all right.”

I smiled unwittingly. I saw the startled expressions of my friends at the periphery of my vision but I did not pay attention. The only one who is important in my eyes is her.

“It’s all right.”

When I repeated those words while smiling, hope sprang in her eyes. When I saw it, I felt my own smile becoming more natural and deeper.

I felt love for the first time ever since I was born.

For your sake, I will defeat the Demon King and the demons—

“I will definitely save your princess.”

If you become my reason to live.

 

 

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