126 – The Youth who Admired the Same Hero
It took me a few seconds to realize the meaning behind Fenix’s question.
「…! No way… Him?」
Once I realized, that’s all I could think about. Even though there isn’t a common feature between their hair color, eye color, personality, or even related Spirit.
But somehow I feel like their facial features are similar. So there was a feeling of deja vu.
And then there was the phrase that Fenix said.
「I have no proof but that’s what I thought.」
As far as we know, there has only been one instance of a party with a Hero who didn’t make a contract with a Spirit that became 1st rank.
They were overtaken by the Aerial party in one year and suddenly disbanded soon after, disappearing from the memory of their fans.
But I know them. I happened to catch them on TV once and became a fan ever since, searching the net for their videos.
I watched the Clear videos on the Terminal I begged my parents to get me during my free time. After becoming a disciple, I asked my master to let me use his Terminal to watch them.
「…Is Wraith the son of the Unyielding Hero?」
I noticed something.
「Fenix. He didn’t use his Spirit Magic, right?」
「Yeah, he used Wind Magic.」
First of all, what is Spirit Magic? What does it mean to make a contract with a Spirit?
Spirit Magic and magic are essentially the same things.
It’s a Technique that refers to the way Magical Energy is used that someone invents from scratch.
It’s a Technique that the Spirits used, and people trying to imitate that resulted in the magic we know of.
In the same fashion, Black Magic is the result of people imitating Black Sorcery.
Witchcraft invented by Ogres, Ninjutsu invented by Shinobi, Techniques invented by great or villainous magic users. There are all kinds of Techniques, but they can only be used by specific races or geniuses.
In other words, magic is the highly reproduce-able and versatile version of these Techniques.
Black Sorcery, for example, is a Technique that was invented by a former Demon King. There weren’t many who could use it, be they man or Majin.
Even though the Technique exists, there are not many people who can master it, and there are not many ways to use it.
That Technique had to be reformed so that anyone could use it, and it became the easy-to-understand magic.
「I thought it was odd, but it’s possible that he hasn’t used his Spirit Magic yet. That was my conclusion.」
I nodded to Fenix’s words.
Just as how my master taught me Black Sorcery, Spirits give their Spirit Magic to their contractors.
Rather than just being able to use it instantly, that person’s talent and ability must be able to endure it in order to use it.
When the person has become a vessel strong enough to use it, then the Spirit Magic can be used.
For example, if you made a contract with a lesser Fire Spirit, you might be able to shoot fire from your hands at first, but that’s also all you can do in the beginning.
Fenix started from there as well. He, himself, says that he hasn’t mastered everything yet.
It seems that that Flame of the Gods that depleted all my nine-years worth of Magical Energy wasn’t some kind of secret final technique.
This is the important part.
A Hero who formed a contract with a Spirit cannot use magic of a different element than that of the contracted Spirit.
Rather than not being able to practically, it’s related to the Spirit itself.
This is because the Spirit really hates that. Their attitude depends on the Spirit, but they generally get jealous, uneasy, angry, etc.
Since the Spirit lends you its strength, it should be treated as a partner.
If you were to use magic of a different element, before long, the power of your Spirit Magic will weaken. Even your magic will weaken. It is visibly reduced in various ways, such as power and effective range. The Spirit exerts its influence like this.
A Hero is originally the type that breaks through with almighty strength, but forming a contract with a Spirit ties you down to one element.
It can be said that that is a disadvantage. There are not many people who see it that way.
Even under normal circumstances, a Hero is the embodiment of talent. What happens if you strengthen them with a specific element’s Spirit Magic?
They become strong people who can be called humanity’s strongest like Fenix and Aerial.
Even contractors of Lesser Spirits can have those who wield their powers in delicate or bold ways like Bella or Nicola, and those that are clearly strong like Philip’s diamond.
Those without a Spirit cannot do this. Or perhaps an extraordinary amount of time is needed to acquire the skill.
Besides, Spirit contractors are popular in this day and age.
The audience loves a master of one, more than a jack of all trades.
「I think he hasn’t officially agreed to the contract. Or maybe he doesn’t want to.」
That’s right. He said so, didn’t he? Something about not planning to use Spirit Magic. He said that the Water Spirit is just tagging along as a spectator.
That contract isn’t completed in the Spirit Shrine. So it seems.
I’m not a Hero so I can’t say for sure, but that’s what people say and no Hero has come and denied so it must be true.
So when exactly is the contract considered made? It seems to be when they use their Spirit Magic for the first time.
If greeting the Spirit in the shrine is like going on dates, then using Spirit Magic for the first time is like marriage.
「He doesn’t want to…?」
Fenix raised his voice in surprise, but I was too deep in thought to respond.
「I see…so that’s how it is.」
So that’s why he’s so obsessed with strength, and why he rejects any evaluation criteria other than strength.
The Unyielding Hero was not the flashy type.
He was not good-looking, nor young. Because he wasn’t a Spirit contractor, he could not use flashy magic. He was versatile, or perhaps skillful. To anyone who sees him, he was plain.
He faced the Clear head-on without using any strange plans or forcing his way through.
But he was strong.
His ability never wavered with the ebbs and flows of his condition, and his Clears were steady because of his sure footing.
They were veterans and their long years of hard work were finally paid off when they became 1st rank.
However, the following year, they were overtaken by the Aerial party and fell to 2nd place.
That year, they decided to retire and disbanded the party.
I remember it well because I thought it was such a waste.
At that time, I remember the audience’s response too.
Even though the contents of their Clears didn’t change, their evaluation changed drastically.
As if a switch was flipped, there was an overwhelming amount of opinions making fun of them.
「So Wraith was…」
Even I, who was just a fan, found it so frustrating.
But what if that Hero was my own father?
What if you saw all the horrible things they said about their plain appearance, his inability to form a contract with a Spirit, being a late bloomer, and their disbanding.
Considering Wraith’s age, there’s no way that he saw all this happen in real-time.
But comments on videos and posts on online message boards don’t totally disappear with the passing of time.
If he found out his dad was a Hero and he went online to check it out, the words that he’d find…were full of malice.
It’s only natural for him to feel frustrated. Of course, he’d be angry. Isn’t it normal to think of it as unforgivable?
So he’s going to get to 1st rank the same way his father did to prove that there was nothing wrong with it?
One of the Four Great Spirits took interest in him, but he won’t use Spirit Magic.
He went to the shrine to receive a Spirit only to further emphasize that they did not need it.
「Wraith…wants to prove that his favorite hero was right…」
It’s possible that Fellow knew about this and approached him.
And Wraith accepted his helping hand.
Considering that the news and the like don’t bring up Wraith’s father, it’s possible that one of the terms of their deal was to hide this information.
The Demon King Castle Clear. There is no better opportunity to showcase your strength to the world.
From Fellow’s point of view, the Water Hero has become a part of his plan.
「Being strong and winning in the end is the truest form of a hero, or so he said…」
「…Wow, I can get behind that.」
That should also be the case.
We admired the same hero.
He invited a Black Sorcerer and also said he wanted the Insect-Human Berith as his ally.
It doesn’t matter whether you have an unpopular Job or if you’re a Demi-Human because it has no relation to strength.
I told Fenix what I was thinking.
Having heard that, Fenix said…
「Is that…so? I see…But Lem, even if that were true, he…」
「I know. I definitely want to support him, but yeah. You have something more to think about than I do, don’t you?」
「Yeah. I don’t wish to deny his desire. But…」
Wraith overlooked something.
「This isn’t something you can just lie down and say「OK, got it.」, right?」
「It’s something you have to feel, yeah?」
「…like, in a battle, maybe?」
Even so, it’s a strange feeling.
There was once a hero I admired.
Fenix, who admired me, is now the 4th-ranked Hero.
The son of the hero I admired invited me, the Demon King Army’s Chief of Staff, to be his ally.
And then, Fenix and I are surely gonna fight him.
Provided that he doesn’t drop out before reaching the tenth stratum.
「Still, can we win, Lem?」
「Of course, I’m the hero of the Monsters after all.」
I smile while reaffirming Fenix’s question with my answer.
Satisfied, he nods and throws one more question at me.
「In order to do that, you’re probably gonna need an enormous amount of Magical Energy…are you alright?」
「I’ll figure something out.」
I have to figure something out.
I answer him while thinking about my training with her Highness.