TWEM Vol. 2 Chapter 6

Chapter 6 – Second Name

“Oh!! Boss! Where did you disappear to?”

“Ah, I just had something to do. More importantly, there aren’t any monsters in this area anymore. I’ve checked the surroundings thoroughly.”

Dyne and the others ran up to me as soon as I returned to the frontline. I had checked only with Detect Presence, but I really found zero monster presences, so it was fine, right?

“Yeaaah!! We won!! It’s humanity’s victory!!”

Dyne and the other S rankers, followed by the soldiers and adventurers, who fought until I arrived, reacted to my declaration with joy.

“Troops, let us return to the capital! A group of border patrol guards will remain here to monitor the situation! We shall now send a messenger ahead to the second and third lines of defense, as well as our headquarters in the capital!”

The army commander announced his orders, then proceeded to instruct the messengers.

“That’s a great help. I’m going to go back to the capital and report to Garguin, then.”

“Understood! Thank you very much!”

The commander bowed deeply to me, then ran off.

I waved to Dyne and the others, who were going to stay at the frontlines a while longer as added security, and headed toward the capital.

The news of the monsters’ extermination had already spread: the troops at the second line of defense bowed to me and thanked me.

In the third line of defense, I rejoined Finne, but…

“What’s that face, Finne?”

Her expression was hard to describe: it was a mix of surprise and disappointment.

“After seeing that scene, I simply became too stupefied for words, that’s all.”

What scene could she be talking about? Nibelheim, Yamata no Orochi, Thor’s Hammer? Or maybe Meteor Impact and the crater it made? Maybe she meant them all…

“Isn’t there something you should say, sir Haruto?”

“Y-yeah, honestly I think I did go a little overboard…but I don’t regret anything!!”

“But you should!!”

“Y-yes, ma’am…”

Struck down by Finne’s glare, I couldn’t help but apologize.

“A-anyway, everyone was safe and sound in the end…”

“That’s not the issue! Sigh…that’s enough, let’s go back already.”

“…okay.”

Sulking, I dragged my feet back to the capital.

When we arrived at the northern gate, I found Garguin waiting for us, standing in the middle of the road, arms crossed.

He had a broad smile on his lips, but it looked just plastered on his face.

“Good job out there, Haruto. We could see you fight all the way here, you know? That was one hell of a show you put up. Especially the last part, what did you do?”

Garguin’s smile turned even more intimidating.

It might be wiser to make a tactical retreat for today.

“Ehm…I’m sort of tired today, could we do this tomorrow?”

The mutant wyvern extermination, the monster horde, and Gheel had actually taken their toll on me, mentally speaking.

“Do this tomorrow…? You’re some…sigh. I actually have the duty to ask you plenty of questions, since you’re responsible for eliminating most of the monsters…”

“Ask Dyne and the guys or the soldiers at the frontlines about what happened, if you need to know more you can ask me tomorrow.”

“…fine then. Well, there are the recording magic tools too, after all. I believe that reports should be heard in person though, and there are other things I have to tell you. Come to the guild as early as you can tomorrow, all right? Ah, you’re the one I need to talk to, so you don’t have to take Finne with you, though.”

Garguin finally agreed to let me go for the day, so after saying goodbye Finne and I went back to the New Moon Inn.

~

The next morning, I headed to the guild, alone.

Finne stayed back at the hotel, following Garguin’s suggestion.

As soon as I stepped inside the guild, I was led to Garguin’s office and invited to sit down.

The guildmaster’s smile was even broader than the day before.

“…well then, Haruto. Once again, thank you for your help yesterday. I checked the reports of the adventurers who fought at the first line of defense, as well as the army’s records. So let me ask you again…what exactly did you do at the end of the battle?”

“It’s a skill called Meteor Impact. It uses up less magic power than expected, so I could shoot a whole barrage of those if I wanted.”

Garguin reacted by growing a fuming shade of red, then started yelling.

“A whole barrage!?! Just one was devastating enough!! It turns out there weren’t any casualties because of a barrier or whatever but did you see that crater!?”

“I went a little overboard…?”

“A…little?”

I know, I know, don’t glare at me like that, jeez.

“Okay, more than a little…I guess.”

“You ‘guess’!? I bet that barrier was your doing too, but you do know what would have happened if you didn’t, right? You used that skill yourself, after all!”

I tried picturing the Meteor Impact’s effects in my mind.

“A huger crater would have formed…a range of five Kilometols around the epicenter would have become a wasteland…and the capital would have suffered grave damage because of the shockwaves and wind caused by the blast.”

I narrated the results of my precise simulation and Garguin shouted even louder.

“You blasted FOOL!!! Don’t use such a destructive skill so casually!!!”

I instinctively covered my ears to shield them from his yelling, then shouted back.

“Shut up! I’m getting a headache here! I made the barrier, didn’t I!?”

“That’s not the issue here!!”

Garguin breathed heavily.

“Honestly…so, where did you go after that? Dyne said you disappeared and checked the surroundings…is that what actually happened?”

“Yeah, about that— ”

I told Garguin about my confrontation with Gheel, one of the Demon King’s Four Heavenly Kings, and that he confessed to being the mastermind behind the monster horde’s attack.

“W-wait a second…did you just say Gheel? The enemy really said that was his name?”

Hmm, he didn’t actually “say” it, since I found out via Appraisal, but it’s the truth, so I might as well nod.

“Yeah, do you know him?”

“Of course, he’s one of the Demon King’s Four Heavenly Kings, after all…“Gheel the Tempter” is famous for his abilities to control monsters…who’d ever thought he was behind this? So the Demon King’s forces have really begun to move…?”

Garguin’s expression turned sour.

“Well, you can rest easy, I defeated him already.”

“I see, that’s one less thing to — wait, what?”

“I said I defeated him.”

Garguin’s eyes looked like they would pop out of their sockets any moment.

“There you go again, saying it as if it was nothing! You should have told me something so important yesterday, in the first place!!”

“I defeated him, so it’s fine, no?”

“You’re such a…sigh. Do you have any proof of that, by the way?”

Garguin was about to blow up again, but gave up and shook his head.

“No, I don’t. But he literally vanished after I used the Light magic ‘Purification’, so I’m sure he died.”

“…is that so. If you say so, I guess that’s true…because of you, now I have more things to report to His Majesty…”

“Really. Well, do your best.”

Garguin’s face twisted in a very displeased grimace as if he wanted to yell back something like “It’s your fault, damnit!” to me.

“…anyhow…today I called you here to listen to your report of what happened yesterday…and another reason. About your rank promotion.”

“Hm? I showed you the mutant wyvern’s head yesterday, right?”

The guild might have to do more inspecting on their part, but the exam itself should be over.

“Yes, the promotion exam itself is complete, as you say.”

“So I can get to S rank, right? What’s the problem?”

“Just listen. Yesterday, you exterminated a monster horde of approximately ten thousand, which included dozens of disaster class monsters too, all by yourself — are we clear until here?”

I failed to see where Garguin was going with this, but I nodded to make him go on.

“In other words, if it wasn’t for you the royal capital of the kingdom of Perdis, one of the Three Great States, would have fallen, by the hand of Gheel, one of the Four Heavenly Kings of the Demon King’s army.”

“Are you sure about that? The soldiers at the frontlines looked well trained to me, and there were three S rank adventurers there too. They could have taken care of the monsters even without me, don’t you think?”

Garguin, however, sighed and gave me a look of reproach.

“You’re taking disaster class monsters too lightly…even the kingdom’s entire army and all of our adventurers wouldn’t have been enough to stop them. That’s why there are rumors spreading…calling you a divine warrior, a paladin of justice, a hero…”

“Eh? What?”

I never heard any of that before.

“You didn’t know? I was at the final line of defense, and even from there, I could see the magic you used. The folks at the frontlines, who saw you battle from up close, were the ones to start spreading the rumors.”

I definitely didn’t act like some paladin of justice, though…

Garguin grinned as if he could see right through me.

“It means they’re that grateful to you.”

“Well, I’m glad they feel that way, but…what does that have to do with my rank?”

It was kind of embarrassing to hear, so I swerved the conversation back on topic.

“Right, about that — Haruto, you know that there are only five S rank adventurers in the whole world, right?

I nodded.

“Yeah, Dyne, Norverne, Ranze, and two more, right? I was surprised to find three out of those five all in this city, though.”

“Dyne and Norverne have been appointed to rank S in Perdis, so they picked the capital as their base of operations. Ranze rose to S rank in another country, but he apparently likes it here, so he comes to visit often. He’s not here all the time, though.”

“They were appointed to S rank in this country? What do you mean?”

Didn’t the guild decide the adventurers’ rank?

“Actually, promotion to S rank starts with a recommendation from the guild, but after that, the rulers of each country first hold a summit, then the monarch of the country the aspiring S ranker resides in holds the appointment ceremony. When I first told you about the promotion exam, I told you we needed ‘an objective, external evaluation and achievements’, right? The reason why we need it is to provide materials for each country’s ruler to decide on during the summit. An S rank adventurer has enough potential to influence state-wide affairs, so the approval of the rulers of all Three Great States becomes necessary.”

“H-hey…it’s the first I hear of any of that…”

“What’s the problem? Do you have any trouble with the royal family?”

“…no, nothing.”

The Glicente people, who threw me out of the capital, might recognize me…but they thought I was dead, so…maybe it was going to work out?

Even if they found out I was still alive and tried having me assassinated, I could defend myself now, so I didn’t need to worry.

“Anyway, the rulers of the Three Great States will discuss the matter of your promotion. The promotion itself is pretty much fixed, so considering the time for preparations…the ceremony will be about three days from now, I suppose.”

I replied to Garguin’s words with a nod.

“Oh, by the way, it’s not really important, so I didn’t say it before, but when an adventurer is promoted to S rank, they receive something like a second name.”

“Wha!?”

I felt my facial muscles tense up.

“A s-second name…? Something like Dyne’s “Lightning Speed Crazed Blade” or Norverne’s “Twin Fists of Searing Flame”…?”

“Right. Up to rank A, adventurers are called all sorts of nicknames by others, but this second name is picked by the guild after careful scrutiny and officially approved by the country. Aren’t you glad?”

Not even a little bit!!

What if they give me a weird name? What do I do when I see my classmates again…?

I can easily imagine what kind of second name they might think of if they use yesterday’s massacre as a basis…it’s definitely going to be cringe-worthy…

As I was slumping in such thoughts, Garguin raised a finger and continued.

“After you went back to your inn yesterday, we were rather busy with the aftermath of the battle, but we managed to come up with some good ideas. The first one was… ‘The Absolute One’, if I recall.”

“Uugh…”

The mental damage was enough to make me groan in pain.

Absolute? Absolute what? How old is whoever came up with it…?

“The second one was ‘Annihilator’.”

Garguin’s mental attacks did not stop.

Okay, I did annihilate the monsters, but…

“But the best proposal was…”

Garguin was about to continue when someone knocked at the door. One of the guild’s attendants had brought us more tea.

“It was ‘Demon King’, sir.”

“Right, ‘Demon King’. Perfect for you, right? Haruto!”

“Gwaah!!”

It was the coup de grace.

Putting aside how cringe-worthy the name was, wasn’t there a real Demon King in this world? What made them think it was okay to use it as my second name? Was I going to have people trying to save the world from my evil clutches?

I took deep breaths, trying to calm down, then spoke.

“…may I ask the reasons behind such names?”

“Naturally!”

The attendant replied, a bright smile on her face.

“First, about ‘The Absolute One’: this name was proposed because your gravity magic forced the monsters on the ground, then you continued to overwhelm them with magic spells, thus sealing your *absolute* victory! Then, ‘Annihilator’ was proposed because you literally brought swift *annihilation* upon all monsters, without the slightest difficulty.”

The attendant continued her explanation, with growing enthusiasm.

“Lastly, about ‘Demon King’! This proposal is based on your appearance and manner, sir Haruto: how you ordered the monsters to open the way for you, how you forcefully removed them from your path, and how you exhibited mastery in all sorts of magic!! Combinations of magic elements like no one has ever seen before, astounding firepower, spectacular sights! Superhuman abilities, fitting the supreme monarch of demons!”

The attendant, in her excited fever, came closer and closer to me with every sentence.

“I get it, I get it already, back off, please!”

“Oh! I-I’m so sorry!”

The attendant finally regained her composure: she moved away from me, blushed, and bowed.

I sighed, then shot a glare in Garguin’s direction.

“Please, let me have a proper second name…?”

“Hmm? They all sound great to me, though?”

“You can’t be serious!?”

I wanted to protest more but was quickly whisked out of the guildmaster’s office, with the promise that they would contact me again when the final decision was made.

~

I walked down the stairs to the guild’s entrance hall, thinking I had to talk to Finne about the promotion when I found the three S rank adventurers waiting for me.

“Look sharp, you lot! Here comes the divine warrior!”

“Open a path for the boss!”

“Open a path, now!! Good morning, boss!!”

“GOOD MORNING!!!”

Dyne, Norverne, and Ranze shouted, followed by the rest of the adventurers in the entrance hall.

I thus proceeded to desperately find a way out, while the second name proposals came raining at me from all directions.

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