63. Revealing Secrets
“So, you heard me shout the name of my Skill while fighting Lucerna and surmised that I was a [Hero], huh?”
I nodded as the fire crackled between us.
“I didn’t know there was a [Hero] Class— not until Rachel mentioned it the other day.”
Daniel glanced over at the sleeping girl. Night had fallen, I was back in my Mortal Form, and we were back in the cave now. After the battle finished, she began excitedly asking him a bunch of questions. As he calmed her down, I went through the corpses of the bounty hunter and distributed my Stat and Skill Points.
Salvos (Death of the Destroyer)
Species: [Greater Demon] (Mortal Form - Human)
Subspecies: [Midday Changeling] - Lvl. 51
[Advanced Mana Manipulation] - Lvl. 2
[Identification] - Lvl. 4
[Racial Skill: Universal Language Comprehension] - Lvl. 1
[Racial Skill: Mortal Form] - Lvl. 2
[Rest] - Lvl. 2
[Title Skill: Zealous Call] - Lvl. 1
[Available Stat Points: 0]
[Vitality]: 55 (+5) (-6)
[Strength]: 40 (+5) (-6)
[Endurance]: 63 (+5) (-6)
[Wisdom]: 69 (+5) (-1)
[Agility]: 100 (+5) (-6)
[Available Skill Points: 2]
[Advanced Fire Creation] - Lvl. 15
[Charge of Embers] - Lvl. 3
[Fire Strike] - Lvl. 10 (Maxed)
[Ignition] - Lvl. 3
[Scorching Wave] - Lvl. 5
[Self Haste] - Lvl. 8
[Passive - Blue Flames] - Lvl. 12
[Passive - Deadly Instincts] - Lvl. 6
[Passive - Weapon Mastery] - Lvl. 2
It seemed that with the leveling of my [Racial Skill: Mortal Form], the debuff to my Stats was less now. That means I just need to level it more— but why did I level it when I wasn’t in my Mortal Form?
That perplexed me. Maybe it required an equal use of both being myself and being in my Mortal Form, and since I had mostly been pretending to be Human, it couldn’t level.
Whatever the case was, I gladly accepted the level to the General Skill. Other than that, I raised my [Strength], [Vitality], [Wisdom], [Advanced Fire Creation], [Passive - Blue Flames], and [Self Haste].
Something inside the fire cracked and small bits of embers and ash burst out. Daniel poked a stick through the fire as his piece of meat continued to roast next to the flames.
“You know I can just create more fire, right?”
“Oh, right. It’s… habit.”
“Well, it doesn’t really matter, I guess.”
I gave him a weird look and he glanced off to the side. Maybe when everyone is asleep I should just revert from my Mortal Form. That way I can level it faster!
“Aren’t you going to… ask anything?”
Daniel spoke up, interrupting my thoughts. I blinked and looked up at him.
I cocked my head. He waved his hands in the air, exasperated.
“About everything? Did you not hear what Rachel said? What she asked me about?”
“No. I wasn’t really paying attention.”
The Human man sighed, rubbing at his temples. He opened his mouth— stopped. Then changed his mind and decided to speak up again.
“Listen to me carefully. I am a [Hero].”
“Yes you are.”
I nodded and took a deep breath. He met my haze and continued slowly.
“That means, Salvos, that I come from another world.”
“No, don’t ‘huh’ me!”
Daniel shot up to his feet and I stared at him, confused. He gesticulated, trying to show me something with his hands, but it ended up not making any sense.
“I’m not just from a different plane in this world. I’m not from the Nexeus at all, Salvos. I’m from another world. A place called—”
He spoke a word and I rubbed my ear.
“Can you say that again?”
“I said, I’m from a place called—”
“One more time.”
He slowly sat down.
“I’m from a place called—”
He repeated himself. I furrowed my brows. Huh, that’s confusing. He’s speaking two different languages in one sentence! I couldn’t parse it when he spoke like that.
“So… you’re from this place. What’s wrong with it?”
The Human man slumped over and sighed deeply.
“Of course you wouldn't get it. Salvos— my world is nothing like this world. It’s literally completely different. I… never had to fight to survive. I was forced to kill for the very first time when I came here.”
He shook his head.
“Nevermind. I just wanted to vent to someone, I guess. Just talk about how ridiculous my situation is.”
“You talked to Rachel, didn’t you?”
“She’s a child. But I guess the same can be said from you. I’m sorry for bringing this up with you.”
I frowned and crossed my arms.
“I am not! I’m a Greater Demon! I can listen and talk, see?”
“Are you actually going to take this conversation seriously?”
I nodded and grinned.
Daniel sighed again. Harder.
“I’m going to trust you, Salvos. So, I come from another world. This world is very different from mine, and I never did anything of… just any of this, back in my world. But when I came here— when I was summoned here— I was suddenly made into a [Hero].”
I tapped a finger on my chin.
“Wait, you mean you weren’t a [Hero] before you came?”
“No. My world is different, as I said. We don’t have Classes. We don’t have Subspecies. No Demons. No monsters. None of that— at least, not in the way it works in the Nexeus.”
Daniel shook his head and began to continue.
“[Heroes] don’t come to this world naturally, Salvos. They have to be summoned from another world. The Class is only bestowed through those circumstances. So all the [Heroes] of the past— the God King Alexander, the Oracle of Light Melissa, or even the Quisling Zacharius— they came from different worlds that aren’t the Nexeus itself.”
I nodded. I don’t know any of those people, I thought. But I said nothing, instead listening to the Human man speak.
“I don’t know if they came from where I came from. But they came from somewhere else. Just like me. Each [Hero] in history has gone about to do great things— Alexander united all of the Human lands and reigned as king for a long time, repelling the first two Great Kobold Invasions and even subjugating the then Laerob Elves— for a period of time.
“Melissa was known to be the first and only follower of the Fairy Queen herself. And her task was to destroy any and every temple that worshipped Fairies— which is why there aren’t any Fairy temples now. And Zacharius was summoned to slay an evil [Necromancer]... but he joined her instead, hence his nickname.
“All these people— all the things they’ve done— I can’t do any of it. I am just an ordinary person. I… can barely even handle tragedy without running away. It made me dream of escaping to another world where I’m some kind of hero. But I never actually thought it would happen. And when it did… I ran away. Again.”
Daniel weakly raised hand and stared at it; his eyes looked hollow. Empty. I was confused, not really understanding anything he was saying. But I knew one thing.
“Of course I am. I don’t want any of these responsibilities. I don’t want… this.”
The Human man gestured at his blood stained clothes— at the invisible scars on his body, healed by the last of my potions. He sighed and I gave him a puzzled look.
“When I came here, I was told I was fighting for a good cause— the Elutra Kingdom was being encroached on by the Inoria Empire. They characterized them as evil. Some sort of evil empire versus a good kingdom scenario. I had attractive women fawning for me. I had more strength than I ever had. More money than I ever had. And more popularity than I ever had.
“Then I fought my first battle. I killed my first person, and I was horrified. But they forced me to fight again, and again. I kept killing and killing even when I didn’t want to. It was all for the sake of the kingdom. For the women. For the gold. But it was all politics.
“The women didn’t care for me. They saw me as a tool to use. The gold given to me was taken from the poor with high taxes. And finally, the cause of the war? The evil Inoria Empire? It was never evil in the first place— the Elutra Kingdom assassinated one of their dukes as he was visiting their country. So they went to war. And it was then I realized everything I had been fighting for was fake. So I ran.”
Daniel chuckled— it was not a hearty chuckle, but one that seemed almost ironic. As if the subject of the joke was himself.
“And now I’m here, and it seems people want to kill me now. That no matter where I run to, life always catches up.”
“The Harrowed Vindicators.”
He nodded, his brows arching darkly over his eyes.
“A notorious underworld group— I had only heard about them in passing, but I recognized their symbol. They mostly do jobs like assassinations or kidnappings. I thought the Elutra Kingdom hired them to bring me back, but… it seems they’re out for me, huh? ”
“But we killed them, didn’t we?”
I lightly tapped a finger on my chin. There was a pop— and Daniel scowled. He picked up his burnt skewered meat, now charred and blackened.
“It’s not that simple. Beyond just being merciless and taking up cruel jobs, they also don’t stop until the job is done. It doesn’t matter if the Elutra Kingdom is trying to tie up loose ends or if someone else is after me. They’ll keep sending their assassins and bounty hunters until they exhaust every member they have.”
He spoke bitterly. I shrugged.
“Then we just kill them whenever they come after you. I don’t see what the problem is.”
“They have Level 100 members, Salvos. You don’t actually expect to kill them all, do you?”
I shook my head.
“No. But what else are we going to do about it?”
“I… I can run. I can go into hiding. Maybe go to the Beastmen plains. Or the Rainforests of Monsters. At least there, I’ll be safe from their assassins.”
“And then what?”
I asked him with a dubious glance.
“You run, they find you, and you’ll be alone. Then you’ll die. But if you stay with me, we can kill them together. Makes sense, right?”
“I don’t want to drag you into my problems, Salvos—”
“You’re not dragging me into anything.”
I spoke simply, crossing my arms.
“When Haec was in trouble— when Lucerna kidnapped him— I went back for him. I’m not just going to let you deal with this on your own. But I’m also not going to follow you to some forest and hide.”
“I said: I’m not going to hide.”
I cut him off and stared defiantly at him. My gaze bore into him and he averted his eyes. He worked his jaw, trying to muster up something to say. I sighed.
“You’re from another world, Daniel? That’s nice. You’re a [Hero]? That’s great! But beyond that, you’re my Human companion. You’ve helped me with getting back to the Netherworld, right? And you’ve never asked for anything in return, like money or favors that other Humans want. So I’ll protect you.”
It was a promise. Just like with Haec back then. I still had to get back to him, however I wasn’t going to forsake Daniel either.
I gave him a reassuring smile and waved a hand dismissively.
“If any of those Harrowed Vindicators come after you again, we can fight them, together.”
Daniel stared at me, mouth wide open. He tried to speak, but nothing came out. Lowering his gaze, he turned to where Rachel was lying.
“But what about her? We can’t involve her with this.”
I hesitated. Then I sighed.
“We’ll bring her to that orphanage you were talking about, alright?”
I liked her. But she couldn’t fight like Daniel. She didn’t even have a Class— when I identified her, all I saw was [Human]. That meant she wasn’t Level 10 yet. Or if she was, she still hadn’t accepted a Class since that was when one got their first Class options.
Daniel stood up, tossing his burnt food aside; he looked at me and I cocked my head. The Human man quickly averted his gaze and scratched the back of his head.
“T-thanks, Salvos. For what you said. And for saving me earlier.”
I laughed, standing up and stretching too.
“Don’t worry about it. I told you, you’re my companion.”
I paused, tilting my head up.
“And besides, you don’t have to thank me for saving your life. I only knew you were in trouble because the Devil told me.
“Right— wait, what?”
“Oh, didn’t I tell you? Some ‘Demon’ calling himself the Devil attacked me while I was trying to get a summoning collar… Daniel? Why are you giving me that look? I told you that, right?”