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The Hero Destroys Evil

The Golden Deer was a tavern near the port of Lark, a trading city.

A single boy sat in the middle of the bar filled with lively sailors and adventurers.

He had a replica of the Holy Demon Slayer, the Hero’s sword, at his waist, and the red emblem of the Hero was emblazoned on his breastplate.

His eyes scanned the room, taking in the bustle of the tavern as though relishing it.

“It’s so lively. I’ve been surprised countless times since leaving the monastery.”

“Everyone seems to be having fun!” replied a high-pitched female voice, although the boy appeared to be alone. Following the sound led the eye to a little figure sitting on his breastplate.

“Hey, Van, are the humans here having a festival?”

The tiny figure—a fairy—leaped nimbly from his armor into the air.

“Lavender, it’s dangerous for you to come out in places like this.”

“But you’ll protect me, right?”

“Of course. With my very life.”


Lavender shivered, and her cheeks flushed.

The fairy had lived in the jungle and joined Van’s party to guide the Hero to where the behemoth guarded the secret forest treasure. Afterward, she decided to continue traveling with Van and became a true member of the group.

“You’re a fellow comrade who fights for justice. We only defeated the wicked behemoth because you revealed its weakness.”

“Hee-hee, I would do anything for you, Van.”

Lavender landed on Van’s shoulder and kissed his cheek with her small lips.

Van blushed like an innocent young boy.

The fairy seemed to take delight in that and hugged his cheek.

Suddenly, there came a loud clatter.

“What are you smirkin’ about, asshole?!” A drunk man leaped to his feet. He was wearing animal pelts and sported a coarse beard. The subject of his ire was another man in leather armor that had been dyed gray. Despite the threats hurled at him, the man in gray leather continued to grin.

Arguments like this one were common in a pub. Wild, inebriated sailors formed a ring around the pair, cheering for what they knew was coming.

“Oy! I’m talkin’ to you! Say somethin’!” The man with the scraggly beard grabbed the one in gray leather by the collar.

“Th-th-this is justified self-defense.”


After a wet sound of cut flesh, blood spilled on the floor. The sailors all went silent.

The man in the leather armor was clutching a small, sharp knife in his hand.

“I-I-I have the Manslayer blessing. S-s-sometimes I have to kill someone to quell the urges.” He looked around the crowd. “A-a-anyone a friend of his? G-g-going to attack me for revenge?”

The man in gray leather wore a twisted grin.

“Manslayer, huh?” Van stood from his seat.

“Are you going to get him, Van?” Lavender asked.


A moment later…


…the man in leather armor was shocked to find his world had turned upside down. He tried to say something else but found he couldn’t speak. It was when he saw the floor rapidly approaching that he realized his neck had been cut, and he was dying.

“The villain has been defeated.”

Van sheathed his sword.

Destroying evil was the Hero’s natural responsibility. Van didn’t spare his victim so much as a glance while he returned to his seat.


Tavern patrons screamed and ran out the door. The owner was at a loss, paralyzed and trembling behind the counter.

Van nodded at the sight. “How sad. He must have been terribly frightened of that Manslayer.”

“Mhm. Mhm.”

“Perhaps I should’ve felled him the moment the argument began.”

“True! You’re right, Van!”

Van and Lavender continued enjoying a pleasant drink in the now silent establishment.

“What happened here?” called a masked knight when she entered the tavern. Behind her stood a large man with an odd look on his face.

“Esta! Ljubo!”

Van beamed, overjoyed to reunite with the two after they’d gone off to gather information.

The masked knight Escarlata and Cardinal Ljubo, together with Lavender the fairy, formed the members of Van’s party.

“Two men are dead, and I would appreciate it if you could explain what happened.” Esta’s tone was clearly critical of Van.

“Van took care of a Manslayer.” Lavender did little to disguise her bristling annoyance. She adored Van alone and didn’t care for Esta or Ljubo.

“Yes, Lavender’s right. A Manslayer killed someone, so I killed him.”

“…Why did the Manslayer do that?”

“Huh?” Van cocked his head, confused. “Does it matter?”

“It’s important to know why a fight happens, to comprehend the reason behind murderous intent. You should have been able to capture him alive easily at your level, right?”


“Then it would have been better judgment to subdue him, get any information you could, and then decide whether to hand him over to the local law or kill him here.”

Van beheld Esta with eyes wide. “Why put so much thought into it? He was only a Manslayer.”

“But he was still a human being. People don’t live on the impulses of their blessings alone. They each have an individual will. You cannot forget that.”

“Ummm…” Van pondered Esta’s words for a moment, trying to understand. “I get it now. I think you’ve misunderstood, Esta.”


“Ah, no, I’m not trying to say that you’re wrong.” Van smiled innocently. “I didn’t hate him for murdering someone, and I didn’t want to protect myself or keep him from hurting anyone else.”

“…What are you suggesting?”

“Demis gave that man his Divine Blessing. Murdering others was his God-given role. There was no sin or malice in his actions.”


“Wielding the Hero’s blade for my personal desires would be blasphemy. I fight only for Demis’s sake. I’d never kill a Manslayer who harms innocents to satisfy some petty hatred.”

“Then why did you kill him?” Esta pressed.

“Those with a blessing like Manslayer exist to be slain by others. I killed him so he could fulfill his role. He was a faithful servant of Demis. And the growth of my Hero blessing that I felt when I slew him is proof that he completed the role assigned by his blessing. How could I hate that?” Van clasped his hands together in prayer, utterly untroubled and guiltless. “I celebrate your life. Thank you for reaching me as a Manslayer. My Hero blessing that has grown because of your life will surely save the world.”

“…Van, you…”

Before Esta could say anything more, Cardinal Ljubo raised a large hand before the woman to stop her.

“This is what it means to be the Hero.”

“Right? That’s my Van!”

Ljubo and Lavender validated and praised Van.

“I am but a beginner Hero who has yet even to fight the demon lord’s army. I am certain that Ruti the Hero is an even greater embodiment of true faith to Demis.”

Van looked down, blushing slightly.

Lavender and Ljubo both smiled at his innocent, boyish gesture. Esta alone did not. Instead, her shoulders slumped.

Ruti and Van. They have the same blessing, and yet, they’re so different.

Van smiled happily in a tavern filled with the scent of blood, guts, booze, and food.

Esta’s expression tensed behind her mask, and she sighed. She’d lost count of how many times things like this had occurred since she began her journey with Van’s company.

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