The Hero of Regression – The Talentless Boy Vows to Protect His Childhood Friend, the Female Hero, This Time Around – Chapter 45.1

𝐈𝐝𝐥𝐞 𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐤, 𝐒𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐠𝐲, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐠

𝐈𝐝𝐥𝐞 𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐤, 𝐒𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐠𝐲, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐠

“Heh, so Dragburn has died. Despite all his bravado, he died without causing any significant damage. Truly pathetic, isn’t it?”

In a chamber within the Demon King’s Castle, a lone man sneered.

Having watched the battle between the heroes and Dragburn through his familiar, one of the 『Water』 Four Heavenly Kings mocked his deceased colleague.

Dragburn’s valiant effort, his commendable death after a lifetime dedicated to conflict—none of it had any meaning, he jeered, negating all of his colleague’s achievements.

“However, let’s give credit where it’s due. At least he left me information about the appearance of the hero. Not bad for a mindless lizard.”

The guy who was an eyesore and died without achieving much in battle, for him, this battle was a piece of good news.

He sang a tune happily while thinking.

Based on this information, he envisioned a glorious future where he, as one of the 『Water』 Four Heavenly Kings, would slay the hero.

If one only considers defeating the hero, it would be wise to immediately share information with the Demon King and the remaining two of the Four Heavenly Kings and launch a surprise attack on the hero with a formidable force.

However, that would be pointless.

Because it wouldn’t amount to much of an achievement.

He has ambitions.

In the battle against the hero, he aspires to achieve great feats, stand at the pinnacle of the Four Heavenly Kings, and rise to become the second-in-command of the Demon King’s Army.

Among the Four Heavenly Kings, he was the newest member.

That’s why he was the least respected among them.

That’s why he had been assigned the menial task of searching for the runaway Dragburn.

It was unacceptable.

He had the most noble lineage among the demons, yet he was treated lightly.

Being the newest member also meant that he was the last to resist the Demon King’s rule.

His honorable resistance hadn’t been considered, and he was dissatisfied with his current situation.

He vowed to secure the merit of killing the hero, and use it to overtake the rest of the Four Heavenly Kings.

He didn’t care about the mindless fools, but the most senior servant loyal to the Demon King who currently sat at the top of the Four Heavenly Kings.

He would surpass him at all costs, and if possible, drag him down from his position. The 『Water』 Four Heavenly Kings grinned darkly, filled with ambition and desire.

“Fortunately, I’ve managed to sow a wedge among the heroes. While divine protection obstructs any substantial interference, for now, this will do.”

If he needed to take them down like those high-ranking dragons, then he could simply bide his time.

Besides, by sowing the wedge, he could also gain some information.

Information is a weapon.

Using one’s brain is the greatest weapon of the demons.

Because that is precisely why demons, not monsters, became the rulers of the desolate Demon Realm.

“Now, let’s see where they are. . . . . .Tsk, as expected, divine protection is seriously hindering me. I can barely track them now; keeping a constant eye on their location seems impossible.”

Well, he wouldn’t aim for the moon.

Just temporarily locating the heroes and having an idea of their next destination was invaluable information.

“Oh? What’s this? They’re heading in this direction.”

The 『Water』 Four Heavenly Kings, having set his sights on the heroes’ next target location, smirk maliciously as he anticipate the possible unfolding events.

There is no guarantee that the scenario he envisioned will come to pass.

In fact, the odds aren’t particularly high.

However, if everything goes as planned, maybe, just maybe, it will.

“Should we give him some sort of reward if that happens?”

The corners of the Four Heavenly Kings of Water’s mouths curl up even more.

Feeling that luck is turning in his favor, he begin to scheme in high spirits.

A strategy to kill the heroes.

And he dreams of the bright future that awaits him .

The demon captivated by ambition sneers.

◆◆◆

Time rewinds a bit.

It was a period when the Brave Hero and the Hero of No Talent were fighting alongside their comrades against the Four Heavenly Kings, who had transformed into dragons of blue flame.

A man was caught in intense pain and dark emotions.

He made a mistake.

Thinking the enemy was near death, he let his guard down and recklessly lunged forward. As a result, he was met with a counterattack of incredible force the enemy had hidden, and now he’s in this state.

The great sword he used as a shield in the spur of the moment shattered, his armor was pulverized, and the bones in the area where he was hit were also crushed to pieces.

His internal organs had likely suffered severe damage.

Though he narrowly avoided immediate death, even his vitality as a Holy Warrior wouldn’t keep him alive for more than an hour if left untreated.

Even if a healer arrived immediately, his return to the frontline would be hopeless.

Before anything else, it hurt.

Unbearably so.

A level of intense pain he had never experienced before in his life was rapidly gnawing at his mind.

He had never faced such a predicament in his life before.

His life had always been smooth sailing.

He was a member of the Hero’s Party that once defeated the former Demon King, and his grandfather was once hailed as one of the strongest Holy Warriors.

He inherited his grandfather’s lineage strongly and was born with the same 『Divine Protection of the Sword Saint』.

He was expected by those around him and grew as a prodigy of the sword to meet those expectations.

Among his peers, he was unsurpassed.

Always mixing in training with the adult heroes, he was aware that he had grown at a frightening speed using them as stepping stones.

There was no one he couldn’t defeat.

Even though he was defeated by heroes in training when he was inexperienced, he easily took his revenge as he matured.

If he went to the battlefield, no matter how strong the monster or how ferocious the demon, he would easily defeat them and return almost unscathed.

In the end, he even surpassed his grandfather, who had been his greatest adversary in his childhood.

Though his grandfather had aged and weakened, he had still surpassed someone once called the strongest Holy Warrior.

He got carried away.

Afterwards, perhaps defeating the current young Heroine in a match during joint training further inflated his ego.

The Heroine at the time was only 10 years old. In reality, not being able to win would be the real problem, but the fact that he had “beaten the Hero” clouded his judgement.

Later on, the Heroine hit her growth spurt, motivated by a clear goal to win a happy future with the boy she liked, and reached a level of strength where a foolish Sword Saint drowning in talent wasn’t worth considering.

In his mind, he couldn’t erase the image of her being weaker when she was younger and subconsciously looked down on her because she was younger.

Even when the Hero of No Talent, who defeated his grandfather, appeared before him, his mindset didn’t change.

He too had defeated his grandfather.

Certainly, gaining such strength without divine protection was astonishing, but he thought that if they seriously fought, he would be stronger.

If he had had a serious match with him on the way to the Elf Village, maybe that arrogance would have been shattered. . . . . .But now talking about it is futile.

In the end, he fought the Four Heavenly Kings without correcting his arrogance and displayed a complete disgrace.

Partly due to the intense pain, for the first time in his life, he felt the danger of losing his life and came to know true fear.

The heart invaded by fear began to recognize the Four Heavenly Kings, who had inflicted this pain on him, as undefeatable monsters.

His arrogance, which had always thought he had no unbeatable foes, was overwritten by fear, robbing him of any and all images of defeating that monster.

Even so, the Hero and the Hero of No Talent, whom he had unconsciously looked down upon, were holding their own against such a monster without taking a single step back.

Against a monster that he himself thought he could never defeat.

All that had been the foundation of his self-confidence was crumbling to dust.

For the first time in his life, he was experiencing defeat.

A universal rite of passage that many people take for granted. One where you either give up or rise again to face the challenge.

Only by overcoming fear, standing up, and challenging the obstacle again can one move forward. A tough trial indeed.

However, whether you give up or challenge it, the experience of defeat deeply shakes one’s heart.

His pain reached its limit, and he lost consciousness.

When he woke up, he had to face this great trial.

That’s what should have happened.

However, people are not always prepared to face their inner turmoil.

There are times when there is no time to worry.

Circumstances can sometimes give you no room for choice.

And then. . . . . .some malevolent being can take advantage of that vulnerability.

“Oh my, isn’t this interesting.”

The creature that appeared before the unconscious him was a single bat.

A familiar of the nefarious 『Water』 of the Four Heavenly Kings.

“Hmm. I sense someone approaching. Likely a healer of some sort. In that case, there’s no time. Let’s get this over with.”

Thus, the bat bit into his neck and injected something into his body.

Something that had just recently driven the dragons living for love insane.

“Hehehe, quite an unexpected harvest. Fortune seems to be favoring me.”

Leaving such a sneering voice behind, the bat flew away.

Shortly after, a healing squad arrived and saved his life.

He fully recovered physically within a few days, thanks to treatment from a Saint among his companions after the battle was over.

Yes.

Physically, at least.

When he woke up, it was all over.

The monster had been defeated by the Hero and the Hero of No Talent, and his spirit remained broken.

A voice echoed in his head.

『Seek power. Seek strength.』

“Yes, that’s right. I need to become stronger.”

Mistaking it for the voice of his own conscience, he began to train seriously from that day on.

Swinging his spare greatsword, receiving a Divine Tree greatsword as a gift from the Elves who saw him, he practiced with his companions on the way to their next destination.

As expected, he couldn’t defeat the Hero or the Hero of No Talent and was made painfully aware of his own inexperience.

However, he felt himself growing stronger with every swing of his sword.

As if making up for his previous negligence, his skill advanced day by day.

Originally, he was a bundle of talent.

With effort, his power was certain to grow.

However, no matter how earnestly he trained, the voice in his head wouldn’t disappear.

『Seek power. Seek strength.』

It was like an obsessive compulsion, filling him with nauseating impatience and an insatiable desire for strength.

The desire so intense it felt like if he let his guard down, he wouldn’t be able to think about anything other than becoming stronger.

『Sword Saint』 Blade・Valkyrias. While enduring that feeling, continues to swing his sword today.


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