I Became The Academy’s Blind Swordsman - Chapter 167: Forming the New Hero Party (3)
Chapter 167: Forming the New Hero Party (3)
“I don’t think you should be saying that.”
Bernice’s retort, though she was smiling, her eyebrows twitched slightly.
I couldn’t help but nod, but I had to agree.
Sierra’s outfit was far more risqué, given the level of exposure.
The red robes of the East were so offensive that you could almost see her breasts.
It made me wonder why she was even wearing it in the first place.
In response to Bernice’s retort, Sierra replies in a nonchalant voice.
[What does it matter what I wear, it’s not like anyone is watching.]
Bernice trails off.
Meanwhile, Sierra sneaks a glance at me and tilts her head.
Only I can see her anyway.
It was a gesture like that.
Well, I can see everything.
“…I can’t deny it.”
Bernice, who had stood up from her chair in excitement, conceded neatly and sat down again.
Rei, who has been watching, looks back and forth between me and Bernice.
“Why? Why? What is she wearing?”
It’s a normal reaction to not being able to see Sierra’s form properly. Inés and Ecline remained silent, but their thoughts must have been the same.
Of course, I couldn’t give them an explanation for Sierra’s attire.
“…I’ll try to keep my mouth shut.”
Bernice exchanged a glance with Sierra, then fell silent.
But Rei’s question remained unanswered.
“Hmm… More than that, why is the saint dressed in such indecent attire?”
“Hero, it’s best to keep your words to yourself…”
“You’re supposed to be an ally, and I can’t even ask a question like that. How naughty…”
Rei’s expression is one of genuine curiosity, without malice.
“I’m fine, Ines. As long as I don’t die before the demon king’s resurrection, I’ll naturally be your ally.”
Bernice said, cutting Ines off.
“I’m just curious, Cerise didn’t tell me.”
“If it is Cerise…You must mean the Saint of the Iron Wall.”
“Oh, you know, I think it’s been a while.”
“Well, I’m a saint myself, so of course I’ve learned the history of all the saints before me.”
“Hmph. Her powers were unusual, but… but her defense was incredible.”
As Rei nods her head, her chubby cheeks sway with it.
Such a cute little girl is the hero.
That sentence probably describes the look on Ines and Ecline’s faces right now.
I wonder if they’re feeling disconnected when the topic of the past comes up.
Bernice and Rei continued their conversation.
“Isn’t Cerise’s power absolute defense? Is there anything unusual about it?”
“Hmm? Isn’t that what it says? The price of power. The price.”
“The price of power?”
Rei closed her eyes and tried to explain, but Bernice’s reaction was that it was a mystery. It was the same for me.
Was there such a thing as a price for the power granted by the gods?
Not that I know of.
“This is the first time I’ve ever heard of a price for power…”
Bernice must have been the same.
Rei’s eyes widened, and she spoke up.
“No, I’m pretty sure she said there was a price… Every time she used her powers, she’d come into my room and sleep in my bed, claiming it was the price of power…I’m the kind of person who doesn’t sleep well when someone’s around.”
As Rei continued, I realized something.
There was no such thing as a price for power, and it was all a lie by Cerise, the Saint of the Iron Wall.
“…You were just sleeping, weren’t you?”
I asked, confused.
“I slept. What else could I do? She’s a coworker, and I’m the one who made sure nothing happened to her. Wouldn’t she be grateful?”
“…Well, that’s good.”
I don’t think Cerise would have been grateful.
It’s a passive thing for heroes to not notice.
Bernice, however, was thinking seriously.
“Power comes with a price…?”
“I don’t know, but Cerise did.”
“…I see, there must have been a price to pay for using the power. I’ll have to find out about that.”
As she continued to speak, Bernice stared at me.
I wondered why she was looking at me.
“So why are you dressed like that?”
Rei repeated her question, the hero was quite persistent.
“Ah, that question hasn’t been answered yet. The outfit is to be prepared for a battle that could happen at any moment…And to keep me cool.”
“Battle? You don’t seem to have any hidden weapons…”
“Ho-ho-ho, that’s what I was aiming for.”
Bernice smiled faintly.
Well, given her combat style, it wasn’t wrong to say that she was dressed to catch her attackers off guard.
So concluded the rather complicated introduction to Rei and Sierra.
By the time the meal was served, Bernice’s gaze turned to Geppeti.
“So, that kid…”
“You mean Geppeti?”
“Yes, as far as Rei and your master are concerned, I understand, but…”
What is Geppeti?
I couldn’t say it was an A.I. from another world, but I had to mix truth and lies in a clever way.
Soon, Geppeti, who had been sitting still with a bright smile on her face, realized it was her turn to speak and bowed to Bernice.
I continued to introduce her.
“Geppeti is…She was more of a chance encounter. She was on the road and had nowhere else to go, so I took her in….I don’t mind having a little sister. She’s very smart and capable for her age.”
“She has nowhere to go…”
Bernice looks sympathetic.
“I know, because I’ve been in the same situation, and I can relate.”
There was no lie in my answer.
Me and Geppeti had lost our Earth, our place to return to.
“Does it feel like you’ve saved her life?”
“It’s not that big of a deal… but it gave her something to live for, and I hope she’ll continue to learn from me.”
“In the future…I hope…”
Bernice murmured softly, then seemed to be lost in thought.
With that, Geppeti’s introduction is over, and her eyes are drawn to the food on the table.
Rei, meanwhile, can’t bring himself to pick up her cutlery as she watches the others stare at her in silence.
I clapped my hands together and spoke up.
“Let’s eat first.”
They all agreed, and the meal began.
It went as I thought it would.
The introduction was over before Bernice had a chance to pick up on anything.
It was a good thing, because it would have been quite cumbersome to respond to her questions.
There were many different types of food.
All of them looked delicious, and each one was a real treat.
Rei cuts off a large piece of steak and shoves it into her bowl.
Ecline, who had been staring at Rei, suddenly realized something and turned to me and opened her mouth.
“Zetto, I still don’t quite understand… So, to summarize the situation… Rei and Miss Geppeti are living as Zetto’s little sisters…?”
“We are, yes. We’re not connected by blood, but…I think of her as a real sister.”
“So you’re not revealing that you’re the hero…? I wonder if it’s okay to hide your existence from the rest of the world… What do you think, sister?”
Well, she’s the ‘hero’ who has to defeat the demon king.
“Isn’t it better to reveal the existence of the hero?”
Bernice, wiping the corner of her mouth with a napkin, replies.
“That will not be necessary, Ecline. I think this is the ideal situation.”
“Ideal situation…? Why, she’s the ‘hero’ that everyone in the world is waiting for, and you’re supposed to tell the Holy Land…”
“The problem is that everyone is waiting… If the existence of a reincarnated hero were to become known to the world, political strife would be inevitable. Moreover, there was a war only a decade ago… So it’s not strange that anything could happen… A war between nations could break out.”
“A war for the hero…”
Bernice had predicted correctly.
I brought her the hero in advance to avoid that headache.
Being a ‘hero of a nation’ gave that country a tremendous advantage.
I decided to add to Bernice’s explanation.
“…Most of all, I didn’t think it was safe, even though I had taken care of all the demons that were around when I rescued her…I don’t think it would be strange if and when the information leaked out, so it was imperative that we move, and I figured that the Innocence Academy would be able to keep the demons from scouting us out. Of course, it’s always good to have insurance, so…”
“And you informed me of this?”
I nodded in affirmation at Bernice’s next words.
“Surely the Innocence Academy is supposed to be a politically independent place, so…”
Inés finished, emphasizing how the current situation was ideal.
“Such a deep meaning…”
I was just trying to make my body and mind feel better.
As Ecline rambles on, Rei grabs my arm.
“What are you all talking about, a battle or something? I’m here because I want to be by Zetto’s side.”
“Well… As you can see, she has a will of her own.”
“Is there a reason you care about him hero?”
Bernice’s question is followed by Rei’s succinct answer.
“Because he gives me candy.”
Rei’s answer was met with a collective gasp and a deep question.
How do I organize this?
I scratched my head and shrugged.
“Haha, it turns out that the hero is very fond of candy…”
“I love it too!”
Geppeti added in a cheerful voice.
Indeed. Recently, Geppeti had started looking for candy, too.
‘It’s a trade secret… I can’t reveal it like this.’
Just as the thought was crossing my mind Rei drops the bombshell.
“…so I decided to take Zetto to the hero’s party.”
Hero Party: a small elite group that will work alongside heroes to defeat demons.
I wanted to say it again, but it didn’t sound like a joke when I said it in front of Saint Bernice, who was sure to be my future ally.
“…Because of the candy?”
“Well, not necessarily…”
Rei stuttered and scratched her cheek.
I wonder if there’s another reason.
“I can’t believe you’re going to bring Zetto to the hero party. Are you sure about this, Hero?”
“Yes, I’m serious. If you have any complaints, you should say so now, since we’re going to be colleagues.”
“No, I’m all for letting him join our party, but…”
The Saint and Rei stare at each other, then nod.
“…Since we already have two heroes.”
Rei nodded, troubled.
The hero was a transposition, of course, and Bernice had been accepted as a transposition quite naturally.
It was partly because Cerys was the only saint she’d ever known in her life.
Ines and Ecline would be aware of Bernice’s radical fighting style.
A heated discussion ensued around the table about Zetto’s position within the Hero Party.
“Carrying a shield from now on… I don’t think it’s possible… and pointless…”
“Zetto, have you ever shot a bow… no, a blind archer wouldn’t work.”
By now, Ecline and Ines were seriously joining the discussion.
A blind archer.
It’s not like they can’t shoot a bow, but they don’t have any relevant skills, so it’s no use against the demons.
I finally decided to ask the question that had been on my mind since I’d been listening to their discussion.
“…Why is it that you want to take me to the Hero’s Party?”
Rei, who had been setting her jaw at my question, glanced at me.
“Because you’ll be competent if we take you, it’s a warrior’s instinct.”
“I think we’ll need him somehow.”
Bernice’s firm voice.
“Zetto, it’s not like it doesn’t make sense, given your history. You found a reincarnated hero…and protected her under the worst of circumstances. Even with Delion this time, if it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t have gotten to the bottom of the truth about him being a demon.”
“So you think I can do a lot of things.”
So, to summarize, my actions so far have caused their high opinion of me.
I thought about it slowly and realized that they had a point.
I’ve since given up.
It’s all just talk anyway, and even if they’re sincere, it’s still a long way off to organize the hero party.
In the end, the discussion ended when the food on the table was almost gone.
“I’m afraid that using a blind man as a porter will attract a lot of public criticism… but it’s the safest way to go.”
The conclusion was a porter.
A swordsman is too much like the hero so it wouldn’t work but there was nothing to be done about falling to the back.
‘A porter is… a bit…’
My opinion didn’t matter.
Rei slammed a small fist down on the table.
She gestured to Bernice, then tugged on my arm, bringing the three fists together.
“…The New Hero Party is hereby formed!”
…It didn’t quite sink in but Bernice lightly touches my fist and smiles weakly.
Yeah, I guess I should just enjoy it since this will all be a memory to cherish.
“To see the formation of the Hero Party in your eyes… I am truly honored.”
“Deputy, there’s no need to cry.”
“I’ve been looking forward to this since I joined the Knights…! Now all that’s left is the Saint’s wedding.”
Ecline wipes away a tear.
‘What a strange bucket list…’
And a wedding…Is that even planned?
“A wedding would be premature, Eileen, when I don’t even have a significant other…”
Judging by the way Bernice blushed, it wasn’t.
A little time passed, and the meal was completely finished… Rei was talking to Ines and Ecline, recounting her time in the Hero’s Party.
Geppeti was listening to their conversation but strangely, no one else was asking questions about the hero turning into a woman.
Had they noticed?
Or did their minds not reach that far.
More likely the latter since it was a complicated story.
Bernice stood up and walked over to me, whispering to Sierra, not me.
“May I borrow your apprentice for a moment? We have some unfinished business.”
[Ahem… have it your way.]
Sierra shakes her head in disbelief, but I take that as permission.
“Zetto, I need to talk to you.”
With those words, Bernice leaves the ballroom.
‘I’m not done talking…’
I left Sierra on her seat and stood up.
I followed Bernice to the garden in front of the ballroom.
Bernice, who was waiting for me after exiting the ballroom, had her eyes on the colorful flowers in the garden.
My footsteps startle Bernice, and she turns her head.
She was looking like a painting against the backdrop of the flowers.