Chapter 48.1 : Hero and Demon
◆ Death God, Zarxis
「How’s the development of the situation, Atlankua?」
The woman stood on the other side of the darkness. By appearance only, she seemed just like any other human. Although one couldn’t call her a peerless beauty, she would be able to charm a man or two.
「Reporting, our servant is currently accompanying the Hero of Light. He might be intoxicated by liquor and women by now.」
「I see… I presume they have yet to discover your true identity.」
「Despite having seen my face, he doesn’t seem to realize my true identity. Rather, it’s more like he is charmed by my beauty.」
「Kukuku… Great! That’s great. Once he sees what you truly look like, he’ll die from shock.」
「You jest, Zarxis. This figure is also my true figure. Even that girl called Nao hasn’t realized my other form.」
I felt a slight wave of anger in Atlankua’s words. After all, her other figure wasn’t pleasing to the eye at all.
Atlankua was similar to a werewolf, having two forms. One was human and the other… Many men turned their backs to it with a disgusted face when they saw it.
Even Atlankua herself hated that appearance.
She was my subordinate goddess and her main ability was to hide within shadows. Whether it was a person with a keen perception or a divine being, none could perceive her.
「You’re right… My bad, Atlankua.」
「It’s okay, I don’t mind it at all. I’m going to snatch that bitch Rena’s most important person. So I won’t mind such trivial matters.」
But I knew she was really worried about that “trivial matter”. That was just how much Atlankua hated her other figure.
And she also hates the goddess Rena. She might just be jealous of her beauty.
「I see… Then it’s time to begin the next phase of our plan.」
「Fufufu, I succeeded in luring Rena’s Heroes to this region. Now I just need to lure him into the labyrinth.」
I nodded at her words.
The first phase of the plan was already complete. They had successfully created a disturbance that was large enough to lure the Hero of Light to where they wanted.
The next phase was to make him enter Labrys’s Labyrinth.
「You found the way to lure him already, didn’t you, Atlankua?」
「Yes, Zarxis. We only need a woman’s tears to lure that Hero. And I’ve made arrangements for that to happen.」
「I see… As prepared as always, huh.」
「Yes, Zarxis. Let’s wait and see how she’ll bait him into the labyrinth.」
Atlankua smiled evilly as she spoke, and I couldn’t help but chuckle along with her.
「Kukuku, Hero of Rena. Now… Bite the bait and come to us.」
◆ Hero of Water, Nefim.
It was early in the morning and the ship headed to Ariadya was sailing smoothly when the captain of the ship approached me with a worried face.
「Uhm… How is the situation, Hero of Water-sama?」
「No worries, captain. We do not need to fear the Merfolk or anything like it.」
「You… Really, aah. Can’t you even have a bit of faith in Nefim-sama!?」
My traveling comrades were angry at the captain of the ship who appeared to doubt my skill.
「Calm down, ladies. I understand the captain’s concern. I mean, he did have reason to worry after several ships got attacked by Merlows.」
The Merlow race supposedly inhabited the western bays of Sead.
The difference between the males and females of the race was quite striking.
The females had their upper half resembling beautiful women while their lower half was that of beautiful fish. They were commonly known as Mermaids.
Compared to them, the males of the Merlow race were quite ugly. Although their upper half also looked human, they had fish heads, fins on their limbs and scales covering their entire bodies.
Despite having visited Sead Inlet so many times before, I still felt nauseous whenever I spotted their ugly appearance.
Both were part of the Merlow Race but apparently, Mermaids and Mermen were on bad terms.
The Mermaids hated the Mermen because they were ugly and the Mermen hated the Mermaids because the females disdained their appearances.
And both of them were hostile to humans.
Many human ships around Sead Inlet were ambushed and sunk by Mermen pirates. Two ships had already been done in by the Merlows within Ariad Inlet.
That was why the captain was so worried.
「As expected of Nefim-sama.」
「Such a generous person.」
My comrades rushed to praise me.
There used to be three of them, but I got one of them pregnant, so she took a break from adventuring.
[TL: F$CK, I thought he is a SHE!!]
「Captain, don’t worry. The Hero of Water, Nefim, is with you. I’ve fought against Mermen so many times before that there is no need to fear them. Moreover, there are also a few Freedom Fighters who came along with us. What are you worried about?」
「Ahaha, true enough.」
The captain laughed, but inside he was still nervous. It must be quite painful for him to tread through dangerous waters, but he had to sail to trade.
The ship advanced along the river with the power of the Goblin slaves’ constant rowing. Their pace matched the rhythm of the drums.
I saw a similar ship once at the Saird Inlet. They used rowers too, but it was my first time seeing so many together.
Maybe the large number of rowers made the ship sail so fast. With such speed, we could arrive at our destination without encountering any Mermen at all.
But then I’d be the one in trouble if that happened. I came to fight Mermen, after all.
I pitied the captain but if nothing attacked the ship, the one who would be in trouble would be me. And I truly didn’t wish for that.
「What’s the matter, Hero of Water-dono?」
「They came!! ALL COMBATANTS, PREPARE FOR BATTLE!!」
I alerted the captain and took out my trident.
The Freedom Fighters, the sailors and the captain all hunched forward, trying to see the sea below us.
「Eh, from where?」
「YOU FOOLS!! DON’T HUNCH YOURSELVES TO SEE THE SEA!! 」
I tried warning them, but I was too late.
The ship had already shaken too much and some people fell into the sea.
「THEY’RE FALLING!!! 」
「INCOMING!! ALL REMAINING PEOPLE KEEP YOUR VIGILANCE!! 」
After I shouted the warning, creatures sprung from the sea and landed on the deck of the ship. They were Mermen, seven in total.
There were eleven people on our side.
Although we surpassed them in number, the ship shook so much that the Freedom Fighters couldn’t brace themselves properly.
On the other side, the Mermen had a steady position even though the ship shook.
The battle had barely begun, and the Freedom Fighters had already suffered some losses. Although they fiercely fought back, they were being killed one by one.
Their skills were hindered by the location since they were unused to fighting on unstable grounds.
「KUH! Only this level of shaking!! This is why the people of the land aren’t reliable at all!!」
As I moved along the deck, 3 Mermen came at me with their swords raised. I blocked their attacks with the handle of my spear and immediately stabbed it on a place that would destroy their stance.
Suddenly I heard a call.
The girls were under attack. I had to save them!
I stabbed my spear on the deck and used it to launch myself across the ship, reaching the girls in an instant.
It took only one attack to spear through all 3 Mermen attacking them.
「Are you okay?! 」
Thankfully, it seemed that I wasn’t late. Judging by how lively they sounded, all three of them were fine.
A scream from behind me broke the moment.
「YOU BASTARDZZZZ. THE HELLZ YOU’RE DOINGZZZ.」
「Fuh. I won’t lose to some Merman.」
I taunted the Merman as I swept my eyes over him.
Compared to the others, that Merman had a better physique. His scaly hide was covered in scars from previous battles and still-healing injuries.
The Merman stopped for a moment and stared at the spear in my hand.
「Oi, ladies man. That spearzz. Could it be, that it waz stigma of Triton? 」
「Yes, I’m from the Triton race. I’m a bit different from the people of the land.」
A Triton was a man born from the union between the Queen of the Mermaids and the King of the Sea, Trident.
Our appearances weren’t very different from humans, but we could freely move in the sea.
Tritons were the sweethearts who were hailed as the Mermaid Knights. The Mermen were our enemies. They attacked us to steal and rape the Mermaids.
Even at Saird Inlet, I fought against a Merman who rode on a sea lion.
「I see, then I havez to defeatz you!! 」
The Merman drew his dual-curved sword and took a stance. I could feel he was strong.
Honestly, I could use water magic, but it would be useless against the Merman. I’d rather not attack so carelessly.
I set my spear in a stance. The three-pronged spear was the same kind of weapon wielded by the King of the Sea, a Trident.
I, born as a Triton, received instruction from my father in the way of the spear. It seemed that I was more powerful than any other Triton.
Filled with curiosity about the land above the waters, I left the sea. My proficiency with the spear and water magic transformed me into a Hero.
I’ve fought against many enemies and became more and more proficient in the way of the spear along with the accumulation of experience from training and battles.
What reason did I have to fear a mere Merman?
「Fuh, I won’t be defeated by a savage like you.」
「DO NOT CALL UZ SAVAGE!!! 」
The Merman let out an angry roar.
「Really? In that case, how about learning how to wear your underwear first? You’re in front of ladies. At least hide that ugly thing of yours!! 」