Chapter 25: The Sword vs the Imposter

It had been two weeks since the true death of the Spirit Tortoise, there was of course a celebration among the coalition forces with the Sword hero once he woke up from his injuries the night before.

But this celebration only lasted for the day, after that it was time to deal with the aftermath of that terrible event.

The first is with the Tortoise Kingdom itself. With the death of King Ransha, the rest of the Royal family, and even Ost Horai the nation lacked a head of state. Ren and Mirellia thankfully managed to get the rest of the remaining Nobles of the kingdom to quickly elect a new monarch and Royal family among them. This new king was going to have his power more limited than before to prevent the likes of Ransha from doing a stunt like this ever again with this assembly of nobles becoming a new branch of the nation's government to limit their power, with certain provisions also being provided for the new King to prevent them and future Kings from becoming just figureheads or allow the assembly to abuse their power like with the council in Siltvelt's government.

And due to the crimes of Ransha and the priesthood that worked alongside him, their contribution and losses suffered from killing the tortoise, and for them to provide any further aid for the recovery of the Tortoise kingdom, the nations among the coalition namely Haikazuya, Lowhirot, and Mideus were all given large amounts of territory as compensation. Though these areas were ones most inflected by the Tortoise so there wasn't to much protest against this from an already unstable Tortoise kingdom government and the coalition nations were fine to have the free territory to make up for the losses from the Tortoise.

Melromarc also gained some lands from the Tortoise Kingdom, but Mirellia insisted on there being referendums to not be seen as greedy exploiters taking advantage of a down kingdom, with the results of the referendums showing 60-70% of the population in the regions voting to integrate with Melromarc with these people and nobles in the provinces having already lost hope in there original government. Being neglected areas even long before the Tortoise was ever awakened and the noble assembly would prefer to not have to deal with rebellious provinces.

Eventually, things finally began to stabilize, there was now a full recovery effort for the Tortoise Kingdom including the beginning construction of a new capital city. There was still a big refugee situation in Melromarc with many humans wanting to become new residents who knew their original homes had been destroyed, despite Melromarc barely already dealing with the other refugees from the freed human Siltvelt slaves. Thankfully many of them decided to take up residence in either Mirso and Bakcadia the Sword and Shield Cardinal heroes domains where there was plenty of room available or going to be available.

There was also another mess that needed to be addressed, namely the crimes of the Spear and Bow heroes. The two eventually recovered and awakened once more, but in prison cells in Melromarc.

It was inevitable that these two were going to be put on public trial again for their actions over their involvement in the Tortoise's awakening. To say it was another shitshow like the other trial was an understatement.

Both Ponytail Slut and Bow Bitch tried to argue that they were manipulated by Kyo, they weren't aware of what would've happened, they didn't think the Tortoise was going to be this powerful, or that this was somehow Bakugou's and Ren's fault. And like in the previous trial the Queen or was anyone else witnessing the event were not convinced by them.

The people of the Tortoise kingdom, nobles, and peasants alike all wanted their heads for what they did and so did many other people even Mirellia for that matter. But the Queen knew it was going to be impossible because of their status as Cardinal heroes, but she was going to ensure they were both painfully punished, not only because she believed they deserved it but to satisfy the other nations who wanted justice from them. They were both turned into essentially slaves of the state now, forced to work whatever menial and painful task she wanted them to do, but this time refusing was no longer optional.

Their debts were of course multiplied by 1000 fold which didn't even scratch the surface of the damages the guardian monster did to the Tortoise kingdom, it was pretty much certain the two would be servants of the crown for life and had to do whatever Mirellia said for now on. Originally they were ordered to help rebuild the new Tortoise kingdom capital but were forced to leave in only a few days when the people and workers wanted both of their blood, she still had them doing hard labor in Melromarc though, all under the crack of whips even while people were throwing rocks at them while doing the painful work.

Many nations have made it official that the 2 were not permitted to set foot in their lands, making it clear how the two were going to be stuck in Melromarc from now on, even the empire of Faubrey remained silent on the matter.

They were also not the only ones that had been taken to trial, namely the Bow hero's party, who were all accomplices in the involvement of releasing the Spirit Tortoise. Like with Bow Bitch and Ponytail slut, the group attempted to say that everything was Bow Bitch's fault and they were forced to be involved against their wills, but like with the Spear and Bow heroes this didn't convince anyone.

Mald though was a special case with him doing his best to keep on arguing and yelling with his Queen over and over, even calling her a "Animal-fucking whore" in her face at one point. To say such behavior didn't go unnoticed was another understatement, Mirellia ordered Mald to be stripped to his underwear and was beaten to a bloody pulp live from the crystal ball broadcasts with him barely having an inch of his life left even after being healed up multiple times. He was also immediately forced to dawn a slave crest on his body and was now a literal slave of the state with Mirellia intending him to pretty much work until death for the rest of his rotten life, and to emphasize that she also legally renamed him to be Packmule. Even though he was stripped of his noble title from the last trial Packmule still had noble blood flowing through him and Mirellia's brutal punishment was once again to be a lesson to other future nobles that their blood ties mean nothing to the law of the land.

The rest of Bow Bitch's party just continued to beg for their lives knowing what will come of them at the end of the trial. They now lacked the legal protection of being in Bow Bitch's party after they abandoned him with the Spirit Tortoise. They plead for Bow Bitch for help, but the Bow Hero's response to them was giving those 3 the middle finger, he did not forget their betrayal and did not give a damn anymore.

Without the protective status as a cardinal hero or being a part of their parties, the 3 were sentenced to public executions out in the courtyard. The 3 continued to beg and cry again for their lives while Bow Bitch continued to ignore them.

And without any interruptions, one by one the blades of each guillotine fall on the necks of the criminals. Each of the bow heroes' former party minus Packmule were now rotting heads in baskets.

Ren could easily tell the event disturbed Rishia, while she had no real love for the rest of her team for their poor treatment of her, it was still a disturbing thought that if she remained in Bow Bitches party she would've been down there as well losing her head with them. Even though Ren knew full well that Rishia would've never betrayed the Bow Hero at the Tortoise unlike those 4, she would've remained by his side to the bitter end despite what Bow Bitch thinks.

Rishia has mostly remained silent on the idea of talking to the Bow hero again, while she still secretly loved her hero, she can't forget what he did to her in the Tortoise awakening and Bow Bitch continued to refuse to have anything to do with her still thinking she was a traitor to him especially with how close she has been with Ren now.

There was still no sign of what happened with the Spear hero's party, Bitch nor Bigger Bitch have been seen anywhere since they ditched Ponytail Slut at the Tortoise. The naive Spear hero was worried sick if his girls were ok, still in complete denial they just simply ditched him to die, but Mirellia forbade him from looking for them. Everyone knew they were hiding themselves knowing what their fate would be if they were caught after what happened with the Bow Hero's former teammates.

There was also a major change in the religious world. The actions of both the Spear and Bow heroes have made people turn more and more away from worshipping them as gods or Saints, to the point a new religion was formed, referred to as the church of the Sword and Shield or just the Two Holy heroes church, where only the Sword and Shield heroes are worshipped and the Spear and Bow are seen as agents of death and destruction.

It was founded in Zeltoble and has gained a large amount of traction since the original trials and gained a huge surge in popularity after the Tortoise incident. Both to humans and a small minority of Demi-humans alike who already worshipped the shield and began to admire the Sword hero for his heroic efforts. It's gotten so popular in Zeltoble that there is now a bit of debate over there as to whether or not it should be the official new state religion and then ban the 4 Heroes church.

Even among the 4 heroes churches across the world, they have been doing their best to deemphasize the Spear and Bow heroes or talk about the heroic accomplishments of older ones. Either way they did all they can to have nothing to do with Ponytail Slut and Bow Bitch.

With all of that dealt with Ren and his whole party went back to Mirso after so long. After all of that nonsense, the Sword hero just wanted to rest, taking a small break in adventuring after dealing with a world-ending crisis. He knew full well though this wouldn't last long. The released souls from the Tortoise have provided the world with a temporary barrier that stopped the waves but this would only last about 4 months.

And to make matters worse for Ren, he has been told that after the barrier ends another supposed guardian beast will awaken in response to the dead Tortoise, this time it was a powerful Phoenix.

Ren was not looking forward to that after how hard the Tortoise was, especially with Bakugou still being gone to who knows where, and Ren has just about given up on expecting anything from Ponytail Slut and Bow Bitch, as of now he only hopes that those two don't try to screw up again. But he secretly knew he had to eventually do something about them with Fitoria's promise even if she was thankful for him in helping to kill the Tortoise.

He once more had the burden of the whole world on his shoulders.

Right now it was just him in his office of the mansion he confiscated from former lord Smi, he was sitting at a desk signing a bunch of paperwork as the town's lord. Since he and Bakugou overthrew Smi the town has gotten bigger and bigger even after a bunch of slave owners were forced to leave the town, many were Demi-humans around the country wanting to escape prosecution, and they started to come in less ever since Bakcadia opened up but plenty of Demi-humans still came to live in this town.

There was also a large population of humans coming in, not just regular Melromarc citizens wanting to join the sword heroes domain, but a bunch of refugees as well, some former slaves from Siltvelt after Bakugou freed them and as mentioned before some from the Tortoise Kingdom.

So it was a lot for the young hero to deal with, thankfully with his fast travel ability he could visit Princess Melty who was still governing Bakcadia in the shield hero's absence with her giving him plenty of advice on governing while Scarlet was over there to play with the young Princess.

It was still a lot to deal with but he honestly didn't mind a more relaxed atmosphere after the Tortoise, months ago he would've thought this stuff would be boring, but now it felt somewhat calming.

But he knew that they couldn't relax forever, he still had his duties of being a cardinal hero, and with Fitoria's promise he needed to get dumb and dumber's act together and get them stronger to fight the waves properly and deal with the Phoenix. He can only hope Bakugou and his team are back before this Phoenix awakens.

After he finished signing the last legal document the Sword hero finally got back on his feet and left the office.

The mansion wasn't huge but it had plenty of space and rooms for many people to live there, currently, his former party members Tersia, Welt, and Barbin were living there until Mirellia finished up the paperwork to make them nobles and provide their new domains for there work as heroes and helping to kill the Tortoise.

After passing enough hallways and doors Ren finally gets to the front entrance and leaves the mansion.

Outside of the mansion, there were still plenty of tents of Demi-human families. Ren has put forth efforts to build more housing but such things will take time and money, he may have gotten a hefty monetary reward for his work against the Tortoise, but even he knew it wasn't going to be enough to provide this town with all it needs. Not just housing but stores to sell goods and earn income, providing new jobs to his people, hiring guards to protect them from slavers and monsters and keep order, etc. He knew he was going to need more money soon and he didn't want to beg Mirellia for it.

But it was something he could worry about later, right now he was witnessing his teammates training.

Miss Grilaroc was helping to train them, and thanks to his teleporting ability he was able to go to Bakcadia and back after the old woman finished her training classes with the people there where he also learned about this big hero school project Bakugou was planning on. He was curious as to what that'll look like once completed.

But Grilaroc was helping to train his party, mostly Rishia and Farrie on the Hengen Musou arts, while the two also trained in magic and stealth arts. Especially the former with Rishia after Ren learned she has an affinity to use any magic, the fact Bow Bitch never utilized her as a proper mage and made her just use swords will always baffle Ren.

Eclair was also training Kiel and Raphtalia with sword training, even though Eclair was officially a part of his party now she was already a master swordswoman and would rather help train the inexperienced with what she knew.

They stopped themselves once they saw their leader approaching them, "Master Ren glad to see you again today, how has it been for you?" Raphtalia asked him while the sword hero showed off a small smile.

"I would say it's okay, but I'm constantly battling with my budget and the needs of everyone in this town. I don't think I have enough capital for everything we may need." Ren answered honestly.

"If you need aid, the Seaetto estate can help provide help especially since I'm a member of your party now," Eclair suggested she could see in her own eyes what the Sword hero was going through.

Ren shakes his head though, "I appreciate it, but I rather not take charity from other towns in times like this, especially since I know Seaetto was hit hard with the first wave.".

"I understand, still it feels hard for me to not help out." Eclair responds she knew had a point Ren and the Seaetto lands were indeed still recovering from what happened with the first wave, but it still felt regretful for her to not be able to help her hero leader out.

Ren smiles back though, "You're helping me more than enough by training my party and some of the citizens here." he says with Eclair smiling back.

Grilaroc though had her say in the matter, "Still money doesn't just grow on trees, and I doubt all of these refugees got time to wait on you collecting taxes. You're going to need to find a way to make some capital quickly."

"I know, maybe the queen might have some work for me to do. However, I still would like to get myself and the rest of you guys stronger as well. Especially with this Phoenix coming up in a few months." Ren responds.

Grilaroc nods back, "Indeed, perhaps you can finally master the sword of light without it nearly killing yourself again." she says which made Ren sigh, even if that happened weeks ago he still remembered the pain the light sword inflected him. He also wants to look into other forms like Bakugou's wrath shield, it would be nice if he unlocked something like that without turning into a rampaging bezerker.

Ren's sword then suddenly started to glow with a menu popping up stating *Crystal ball message received*, after reading that Ren immediately changed the sword to the crystal ball variant and activated the message.

The sword crystal then showed an image of the Queen of Melromarc herself, "Sorry to disturb you Sir Ren, but I request you to come to the castle in the capital as soon as you can, I want to discuss something with you." after that, the message ends with the image disappearing from the ball.

"What does the Queen want?" Raphtalia asked.

"Not sure, but I shouldn't keep her waiting. I'll just be there for a little bit guys so I hope you don't mind holding the fort till I get back." Ren informs them.

Eclair smiles at the sword hero, "Don't worry, everything is in good hands. Not like anyone would want to attack a town guarded by a giant dragon anyway." she says ensuring him,

After nodding back in approval, Ren activates his map sword and then teleports away.

Ren was now in Melromarcs capital just outside of the castle which he was immediately allowed in.

After a small escort, Ren was finally in a large room with the Queen herself in person while a few guards watched over the room.

Mirellia smiles back after she puts away a fan of hers, "Thank you for coming here on such short notice, I hope I wasn't interrupting anything?" she responds.

"No just mostly dealing with the struggles of managing a town." Ren said in a joky matter to downplay how hard it's been which the Queen saw through.

"I see, there are always going to be struggles when managing your own lands and trying to make it better for everyone, I pretty much have to do the same on a larger scale. So I know the feeling." Mirellia says back.

Ren nodded to that then said, "So why have you brought me here? Does it have anything to do with the Bow and Spear?" he asked her.

Mirellia shakes her head in disagreement to that, "No, those two are being held on a tight leash for now, hopefully I can eventually get through to their stubborn minds and get them to take their jobs more seriously and understand the consequences of their actions. But anyway, I have to ask you, have you ever been to Zeltoble recently?" she asked of him.

"Zeltoble? I was originally planning on going there with my team when Aul-Piece of shit wanted to go to war with Siltvelt, but I was never able to go there when Bitchwhore and the two other cardinal heroes tried to arrest me." he answers which is now piquing his interest to why she was asking this.

Mirellia nodded to him and then turned her head to a servant holding a crystal ball, "I see, that answers a few things, please show him the ball." she said and then asked the servant who approached the sword hero.

She hands him over the crystal ball which quickly activates. Ren was wondering what this was about as he watched the images on the ball play out.

The ball showed off what appears to be a coliseum's center arena with a huge crowd of people up some stands, all cheering on to something, and to whom they were cheering was revealed when an announcer in the crystal ball yelled out, "Let's all cheer for the Sword hero, Ren Amaki!"

And to the sword hero holding the ball's surprise, a figure appears on the ball to wave to the cheering crowd. And this figure looked exactly like Ren, from his face, his hair, his eyes, his armor, and even the sword he was holding looked identical to the cardinal sword. This figure looked to be almost a clone of Ren himself as this clone contiuned his waving to the crowd in the crystal ball with a smug smile on his face.

After that the crystal ball immediately turned off, the Sword hero looked baffled and confused, "What the hell was that?!" he immediately questioned the Queen.

Mirellia nodded back and explained to the Sword, "This was a recording of a big event in Zeltoble's capital just 2 nights ago, provided by an anonymous source. From what my shadows I had stationed in the kingdom have told me, according to what the so-called church of the Sword and Shield has said, the Sword hero had immediately gone to the kingdom after the defeat of the Spirit Tortoise and has been doing public service work for the government as well as fight in the arena.".

Ren did not like where this was going at all, "So the people there think this guy is me and is supposedly working with the kingdom along with this church supporting it?"

Mirellia nods back, "Yes, and I've always had a bad feeling about that religion, I've been trying to stop their influence since they started gaining support, I fear another 3 heroes church might pop up from them and now they're supporting this imposter of yours to no doubt reap the benefits." she explains.

"So you think they arranged this?" Ren asked of the Queen.

"That we unfortunately don't know, information has been limited even from my shadows and the imposter has been keeping to himself from what is known? It's hard to say if this was the church's idea or if someone else is pulling the puppet strings. Either way, they seem to be benefiting from it." Mirellia responds.

Ren nods to the Queen, "I understand, I'm guessing you want me to take out this impostor? Why not allow your shadows to handle it or tell their king or whoever that I'm really here?"

Mirellia immediately responds to that, "I just wanted to inform you of this event and allow you to do what you want. And I don't want to try to trigger any hostilities with Zeltoble, if you recall I said I had to spend time in their kingdom after Ault-Piece of shit summoned the cardinal heroes to fan out the flames. While I stopped them from declaring war we are still not of best terms right now, if they find out my shadows have been infiltrating there government I risk a war and will most likely not believe what I say. But as a cardinal hero, you are independent of any kingdom's obligations so you do what you want with this imposter. However, if you do deal with the imposter and expose who may be behind him whether he be an independent conman or has certain nobles or the Sword and Shield church involved I'll pay you 500 gold for your efforts."

Ren nodded back once more, the reward was already enough incentive to go, but he was more than eager to deal with this faker pretending to be him. But he then asked, "What about the Spear and Bow heroes?"

"We have it under control, if something requires your aid I'll contact you through crystal ball. Just be careful, Zeltoble is a lot different from Melromarc and if other parties are involved they will want to do everything they can to stop you or just go into hiding while covering their tracks." She warns and ensures the hero.

Ren nods for the last time, "I understand, we'll be heading for Zeltoble soon."

Mirellia bowed to Ren, "Thank you again, one of my shadows should be at your town once you teleport back and will give you all the information you require for your journey and quest. Good luck over there." she finished with Ren heading his way out to fast travel first to Bakcadia to pick up Scarlet and then back to his town and begin a new adventure.

It has been 3 days since the Queen informed the Sword hero of the imposter. After gathering his team which includes Eclair, Raphtalia, Kiel, Farrie, Rishia, and Scarlet together and telling them the whole story they made their way to Zeltoble. Thankfully for them, they didn't have to travel there either by foot or carriage or boat, they were all now riding Gaelion flying their way to the nation with Wyndia riding as well.

Scarlet was annoyed by both not being allowed to pull on her wagon again and envious of the dragon's ability to fly, something she still wanted to do herself.

It was now near the evening with the sun going down as the Sword group look down and finally saw a large city below the clouds, "There it is, the Capital of Zeltoble. The nation of merchants and mercenaries." Eclair says to everyone.

"You familiar with this place?" Ren asked her.

Eclair shakes her head, "Never been here myself, but father has done business there before and just told me of his experiences, and they usually weren't the best experiences." she tells him honestly which just intrigued the hero more, thinking on how differently this nation will be compared to Melromarc.

Eventually, Gaelion lands himself in a grassland area a bit away from the city itself to both not cause a panic with a giant flying dragon landing in the middle of the city, as well as the point of this quest being to not draw attention until they find out more on the imposter.

The group gets off the dragon as they look back up at Gaelion and Wyndia, "Thanks again for all of this. Are you sure you don't want me to fast-travel you back to Melromarc?" Ren thanked and asked the father and daughter duo.

Wyndia shakes her head, "No it's alright, it's been a while since I got to be flying with father for so long, so we prefer to just fly the way back."

Gaelion nods in agreement, "I would also like to feast while I'm in this new region anyway."

"I hope that doesn't involve eating villagers big guy?" Farrie jokes at the dragon.

"Ha, I'm not that foolish, and to be honest you humans are way too boney for my tastes, not enough meat." Gaelion said back with some of the group wondering if he was joking or not, of course considering what happened to the last Mirso lord and the knights that attacked his town Ren knew he had eaten humans before.

Gaelion then said his goodbyes, "Farewell Sword hero, hope to see you again soon." He then started flapping his wings and got himself in the air.

"Bye! See you guys later!" Wyndia shouted her goodbyes as well, as she and her father flew off into the sky quickly already a far distance away from the heroes.

Once they were out of sight Scarlet transformed into her bird form, "Alright then Master Ren let's get to the city." she said excitedly.

Ren though shakes his head in disagreement to that, "Scarlet I told you we are supposed to be undercover and not to be recognized. Your bird form is going to stick out like a sore thumb." he tells her.

"Ugggggghhhh, this is no fun!" Scarlet cries as she turns back to her human form.

Kiel tries to cheer her up, "Don't worry Scarlet, once we find this faker we'll beat him to a pulp." she tells her which makes the filolial princess smile.

"Just remember we need to find out who is involved first, or they'll just hide away and attempt to do this stunt again or something similar." Eclair reminds them with Ren nodding in agreement.

Ren then puts on a cloak with a hood and puts on a mask with the others wearing similar apparel.

They then walk their way toward the capital, and after about an hour of walking and Scarlet complaining about it they finally make it to the city with Ren paying the toll to get his group inside.

Once through though the group heard a voice, "Not from around here are you, I dare say?" said a mysterious woman. Ren recognized the second part of the sentence from anywhere and knew it was another of the Queen's shadows.

Ren nodded back to her, "Yes, and I assume you know of a good place we can be based at?" he asked trying to say his words carefully.

The shadow nods back, "Indeed, it'll be out of the way and have some familiar faces in it." she replies as she escorts them to this "base" they'll be safe at.

Ren and his group follow, though the part about "familiar faces" confused him, he hoped that would be answered soon once they get there.

As the Sword group followed the shadow, they observed the streets of Zeltoble's capital, it was a huge center of economics with numerous merchants across the streets trying to sell off there goods and services, some offering less peaceful services than others with mercenaries. While gold, silver, and copper coins are still seen as viable currencies, the group noticed that Zeltoble also had paper money to exchange goods and services with.

The biggest contrast to this kingdom compared to Melromarc though is that despite this country being a predominately human kingdom, Demi-humans were walking the streets alongside humans, being both merchants and mercenaries themselves without prosecution.

However, the unfortunate truth is that slavery was still prevalent here, even more so than in either Melromarc or Siltvelt, with both human and Demi-human slavery. This slavery wasn't based on racism like the former two nations, it was just the culture of the state where simply not being able to pay your debts or being convicted as a criminal turns you into one. It was a sad sight to see that made the Sword group including Ren wish they could do something about it, but right now they need to deal with the imposter first.

Eventually, the shadow leads them to a quieter part of the city at an old tavern, "The shadows will continue to monitor what we can and provide what we know. Stay safe Sword hero." she says and runs off.

Ren then approaches the tavern with his group and knocks on the door.

But once it opened the man who answered it looked to exactly like the slave merchant in Melromarc's capital, "My my, an interesting group of customers I see. Welcome to my establishment!"

"Beloukas what the hell are you doing here?" Ren immediately asked, he may not have visited the guy often but he easily recognized the man who sold him Scarlet's egg months ago.

"Oh familiar with my family are you? I'm assuming you met with one of our branches elsewhere like my nephew here." the familiar-looking merchant said as he pointed to another individual by the bar.

And to the Sword group's shock the individual was the actual Beloukas himself who turned and immediately recognized the Sword hero as he smiled and jumped out of his chair, "My my, I can't believe we would be meeting again after so long Sword hero."

This was very weird to Ren, the two slavers looked to be almost clones of one another, though one did look slightly older with some wrinkles. Without those it was impossible to tell the two apart, "How did you know who I was?" Ren asked Beloukas as he removed his mask.

"Ha, I can easily recognize that Filolial Queen of yours miles away, made that slave of yours one of the best fighting monsters in all of Melromarc." Beloukas responds which annoys Ren.

"Scarlet is not my slave, she is her own person." Ren argues back looking more angered by the suggestion he and Scarlet were just a master with his slave.

Beloukas's uncle then spoke up, "Is that so? Then why does that red-eyed Filolial still have a slave crest on her?" he asked.

Ren paused for a moment and as he looked back at a confused-looking Scarlet, he saw that her slave crest was still there on her upper chest with him being able to see it glow through her clothing with his eyes. He mostly kept it there to keep Scarlet under control and make sure she didn't do things she was not supposed to. But after so long being with her, he was growing a little bit guilty of keeping that thing on her, but on the inside, he was somewhat afraid of what would happen if Scarlet was now truly free and could do what she wanted especially as Fitoria's heir.

But Ren didn't want to keep thinking about it, he wanted to get back on topic, "That's none of your business but what the hell are you doing here Beloukas?" he responded to the uncle then asked of the nephew.

"Oh well, you see, since the Shield hero bought out my entire stock and with how high slave prices are now I've decided to retire from the slave trade and moved here to Zeltoble to set up my new gladiator business. And while I begin to set it up as well as wait for my new house to be made, I've been living with my kind uncle until then." Beloukas responds with his uncle giving the thumbs up to confirm all of that.

Beloukas's uncle then spoke up, "So now it's my turn to ask what are you doing here Sir Sword Hero? I figure you be up at the noble district with all that you are doing with the government and Coliseum?"

Ren already knew what he was talking about, but before he could respond Kiel spoke up for him, "That guy is not the real sword hero! This is master Ren's first time coming here." she says with the rest of Ren's group nodding with her.

Beloukas himself nods to them as well, "I knew there was something off about that boy claiming to be one of the cardinal heroes. The fact he never had his prized Filolial queen by his side always made me suspicious of him. Good to know that hunch was right the whole time."

Beloukas's uncle continues to nod and turns back to Ren, "I'm guessing you're here to deal with this imposter.".

Kiel then raised up her fists, "Hell yeah, we are going to kick that guy's ass and show everyone who is the real sword hero here."

Raphtalia grabs her by the shoulder, "Kiel the point of this mission is to find out who is involved here and not to immediately attack the fake Ren." she responds with the others nodding in agreement which makes Kiel realize what they are talking about and now looked nervous over what she said.

Farrie then spoke up, "Do you know anything about this other "sword hero"?" she asked the two.

Beloukas'a uncle nods to the teammate, "I don't know too much, but I can tell you want I know for say a small fee of 500 silvers.".

Ren sighed knowing the guy was just haggling him for whatever money he could get but he knew he didn't have the luxury to be picky and just paid him the 500 silvers.

"Well from what I know the "sword hero" since coming to Zeltoble has been working directly for the king. You see there was an attempt on his life not too long ago. It seemed to have made him a bit paranoid especially with all that has happened recently with the waves and the spirit tortoise. He among many others suspecting several nobles and merchant leaders being involved in this assassination plot. The main perpetrator was supposedly the head of the nation's spy network, but ever since the "Sword hero" came to this nation and saved the king from the attempt on his life, he has been directly involved in arresting several noble heads, big named merc leaders, and even a few high profile merchant leaders who are a part of the Merchant Council who have been accused to also be involved in the plot. Despite many of them being friends to the current royal family for generations." Beloukas's uncle informs the hero.

Ren and many in the party knew something sounded suspicious about this whole scenario, and one word made Ren think for a second, "What can you tell me of the king and what do you mean by current?" Ren asked.

Beloukas's uncle then continued explaining, "Well you see Sword Hero unlike Melromarc, Zeltoble is more or less an elective monarchy where after the old king passes away or abdicates the nobles and high merchants of get together and elect among of them to be the next king who will rule for life. These Nobles and Merchants make up the Merchant Council who help run the day-to-day business of the country, they are the wealthiest and most powerful people in Zeltoble, but the King remains the head of state and representative of the Council. Our current king, King Andraw has ruled for over 50 years, he's been a well-loved figure by many for decades, but some are now thinking age is starting to catch up to him and is not being as active in politics as he used to be. His son Frandon is another story, he's the current grand councilor, a sort of Prime Minister to the King, a diligent one that he is, and from what I've heard his son the king's young grandson Benjamin is quite the child protege. And if something happens to the king the councilor would be the one to temporarily take his place as head of state until the king gets better or a new one is elected by the Merchant Council."

Ren scratches his chin as he thinks about all the information the elder slave trader provided.

Farrie then suggested, "Do you think his son might've been involved in the assassination attempt?"

Eclair taps her chin as well to that, "It's unfortunately not unlikely for that to be the case considering our own former princess. But we must not draw conclusions yet, more might be involved."

Beloukas himself then spoke his mind, "It could also be what others might be thinking as well, it be an obvious open and shut case, something the true perpetrators might want to be seen as true while no one suspects them."

The group understood what the younger former slave trader was getting at, Ren even understands, "This just means we'll need all the information we can get, find out who is truly involved in this, and then stop them along with the imposter." he says to his group who nod in agreement.

Beloukas himself spoke up, "So what are you planning to do in the meantime?"

Ren spoke what he had in mind, "Perhaps earning some money on the side wouldn't hurt, it'll probably take time for us and the shadows to find what we need to know."

Eclair spoke for Ren, "We will need to be careful though to not be recognized and clue anyone in on this, and if we do find jobs we should do one that might get us close to someone who is involved with the imposter. Jobs that will allow us to keep our identities a secret."

Rishia then spoke up, "But what can we do without identifying ourselves?" she asked with Ren and the rest of the team wondering the same.

Beloukas then smirks again, "I think I might have the perfect thing for you, a thing that will make you tons of money as well." he says to the group.

Ren could tell the former slaver was just smelling profits for himself again, but he knew Beloukas was their best bet on getting somewhere so he bit the bullet, "Fine, what is this thing?"

Beloukas smiles as he nods to his also smirking uncle, "I'll show you to it myself, just follow me." Beloukas's uncle says as he and his nephew move passed the group and head out the door. The Sword Hero and his team follow suit, hoping this thing isn't as bad as they are thinking it might be.

Down at Zeltoble's main coliseum, there were crowds of citizens cheering for another great victory for the Sword hero.

But inside the structure, a few major figures were walking down the halls away from any bystanders.

One of the figures is the King of Zeltoble himself, King Andraw. He was a man with long white hair and wrinkles on his face showing his age clearly, but what rested on that head was a large golden crown that had many jewels on it, the rest of his attire was of red silk robes with many rings on his fingers, a man not afraid to show off his wealth and status.

Beside him was his son, Grand Councilor Frandon a man in his mid-30s with short brown hair and blue eyes who while having some jewel rings himself was more modest than his father wearing formal minister dress clothes.

They were both overhearing a Messager relaying some news to him, "The job has been done your Majesty, former Father Colin of the four heroes church has been arrested just a few hours ago by the sword hero and is in the dungeons now."

King Andraw nods to that, "That is good to hear, I'm still quite sad Father Colin would do such a thing, to get involved with assassins to kill me."

Frandon though spoke out, "Father! Colin has supported our family for many years and is a man of true pious. Why would he do such a thing?"

King Andraw shakes his head in disagreement with his son, "It's probably because I no longer desired my family or our people to worship fools who call themselves heroes anymore. I know you still disagree with me on changing the state religion but it's final now as of today and the people and the merchant council are happy with it so I have no regrets about it." he responds with a tired sound to his tone.

"Well I still don't trust this so-called Sword and Shield church, many of them are just former merchants and those who got kicked out of the four heroes church like its leader Father Marc for corruption and embezzling donation money. Do you think those people are to be trusted?" Frandon says with annoyance in his tone.

"Considering Colin's treachery it is easy to conclude that Marc was wrongfully discharged as he explained to me before. It's not like it's a big deal, Melromarc changed its own state religion recently."

"Because their own Pope attempted to murder the royal family and take over the nation, which could be a possibility now with what you have been doing lately giving them more and more power. And this is not just with Father Colin, but with all of these other arrests lately, all of them have served our family loyally for years and have now just started getting "evidence" of treachery coming out very conveniently after the assassination attempt on you."

"I understand your feelings Frandon but we live in very uncertain times. We can't let our own feelings cloud our judgement and look past trouble when it exposes itself. Again look at what happened to the former King of Melromarc when he trusted the priest he knew for so long."

"I'm aware of such things, I know the possibility of supposed trusted companions stabbing you in the back is an unfortunate reality, but I think you are trusting the wrong people here."

"Frandon, one of those very people is the Sword Cardinal hero himself, he hasn't done anything of ill will since coming to us and does it all without any charge. I think it's fine to trust a hero like him." Andraw continued arguing.

Frandon could only sigh to himself. He may love his father, but his actions lately seem to only put themselves at greater risk than before, not only to their whole family but the nation itself. But since his father was the King, there was only so much he could do even as the Grand Councilor. The most he could do was keep on trying to convince him and see reason. The royal family's own spy corp has been basically purged after there head of their version of the shadows was blamed for the assassination attempt, the rest of the shadows are now either in hiding or in prison with the rest of the supposed conspirators. They were left in the dark now.

But as the two walked down the hall and encountered a familiar face to them, the King smiled while the Councilor frowned at the man.

He was of mid-age in a blue and white noble outfit not too dissimilar to Frandon's outfit. Like the king, he had greying hair that was curled up, but he had fewer wrinkles than the aging king. He also had a big smug smile on his face as he bowed to the royals, "It's a pleasure to see you again my liege. How have you been lately?"

King Andraw smiles and nods back to the noble, "At ease Duke Varden. It's still been a stressful time, but thankfully another conspirator to my attempted assassination has been caught." he responds with the noble smirking even wider.

"Yes, I've heard about Father Colin. It's sad to see, but at least justice has prevailed and prevented the likes of him from causing any more harm to our Kingdom." Duke Varden says to the king looking smug as ever, smugness Frandon saw through.

"It has been convenient though how this "evidence" has kept being found without so much effort. Either from you, your allies, or some of your friends at this new church, being thrown at our doorsteps by the Sword hero." Frandon says back with distaste never trusting Varden ever since he spoke to him the first time years ago.

Varden then continued to speak, "We are only doing our duties to protect this kingdom. Time is precious, especially the time we have now to recover from the waves."

Frandon continues to look Varden in the eyes knowing the man has ulterior motives, but without evidence, there is nothing he can do to arrest and interrogate this evil man.

The conversation was cut short though when 2 new individuals walked toward the nobles.

The first is another middle-aged man in robes and a bishop hat, all colored in dark blue and green clothing.

Next to him is the supposed "Sword hero" himself Ren Amaki walking with the priest until they are up to the group.

The King smiles toward the "hero", "Quite the good show you pulled off today Sir Sword Hero Ren. I want to also thank you again for all you have done for our country, I don't know what I would've done if a cardinal hero wasn't around to save me even after he saved our world from the Spirit Tortoise." he thanked and bowed to the "Sword hero".

"Ren" smiled once more and bowed toward the King, "It's no issue Your Majesty. Just doing my job to protect the kingdoms of this world." the "hero" responds.

King Andraw then looked toward the religious man, "I want to also thank you Father Marc for the information you provided for us. I'm glad to have you as our new religious leader."

Father Marc nodded and bowed to the King, "Our church is very humble of your generosity my lord. Helping to find these traitors is a grand responsibility we do not wish to squander. This conspiracy against your liege is a large web and we need to continue to cut this web down. We'll continue to help find these villains with the help of our allies in the council and our Cardinal hero will put them to justice." he says to the King with "Ren" nodding in agreement.

Duke Varden also nods and walks toward the Priest and hero, "I wish to continue our chat but I think I need to get back to my estate before it gets too dark out so take care my King and Councilor and long live Zeltoble." he finished and turns and walks away along with Father Marc and "Ren" walking in the same direction.

"I think it's best we get back to the palace ourselves, I may not mind the coliseum food, but I prefer what our chefs have made for tonight, best get your family together Frandon." King Andraw says as he turns and walks in a different direction.

Frandon sighed in annoyance at how his father has been acting lately, he may love his father but at times he wished that he would listen to him more and ignore those who have ill intent for their whole nation. He wished his mother the late Queen was still around to help his father keep his mind straight.

"I see you've had quite the night again with your father my love." said a voice that the councilor immediately recognized and it was his beautiful wife Linda, wearing an expensive silk dress with a couple of rings on her fingers as well. She was also pregnant with their next child on its way. And right beside her was their 11-year-old son Benjamin who bears a good resemblance to his dad including his short brown hair and blue eyes.

Frandon smiles at the both of them, even on the worst days of dealing with Zeltoble politics his family would make those days better as he hugged his wife, "Oh it's nothing I've been through before my love. I just hoped you and Ben had a fun time tonight." he says to his wife and son, he was downplaying his own worries with what is going on lately, he didn't want to stress out his own pregnant wife and while Ben was more mature then most kids he was still a child who should still enjoy the golden years of his life.

Ben then spoke up, "Yeah it was cool Dad! The sword hero fought against a massive Griffin while riding on a Manticore and slew its head off. You should've seen it yourself!" the kid expressed. While excellent in his studies Ben was still a kid who enjoyed watching cool battles like this as the gladiators fought with all they had against the odds.

The Councilor smiles at his son's excitement, "Well I'm glad you had fun tonight, I wish real politics were as exciting as watching someone decapitating a monster." he expressed.

Linda knowing her husband saw through his tone and knew he was deeply disturbed, "I've heard what happened with Father Colin. I hope your father knows that things like this can disrupt the balance of the council.

Frandon sighed knowing his wife's own skills in politics, "Much of the Council has been shifting against us lately. Duke Varden's powerbase continues to grow while my father remains ignorant of what is going on as he imprisons more and more of our allies on supposed conspiracies. If I don't get him to think straight soon we may be dealing with a big political crisis on our hands." he said truthfully with Linda knowing what he says is the truth.

Ben having somewhat of an understanding of politics understood what his dad was talking about, "Father do you think we might be heading for a civil war or coup?" he asked having some fear in him after he read about how things like this turn out in history with many nations and royal families even in Zeltoble.

Frandon rubbed his kid's head and tried to calm his nerves, "I don't think we are at that point yet thankfully, I hope to get through with your grandfather soon to prevent such a thing from happening." he said once more trying to downplay what is really going on, he doesn't want to shelter his kid but at the same time doesn't want to scare him to the point of having nightmares. He then tried to change the subject, "Now enough about politics for now, how about you tell about that fight with the griffin before it lost his head?"

Ben looked excited to be reminded of that fight, "Oh wow, you should've seen have the Sword hero rode his monster mount it was-" Ben said then continued mumbling on the details of the cool fight as his dad and mom listened on as they hold hands and head there way back home to the palace.

On the back of his mind though, Frandon still didn't like what was going on lately as more and more political allies and friends were being arrested, all the while weasels like Varden continued to walk the streets without suspicion. He knew he had to do something soon or the family and nation might be in real trouble soon.

Back with Varden, Marc, and "Ren", the 3 continued walking as they were now far and away from any spying eyes. Varden finally spoke without spouting out any lies, "Hahaha, that old fool continues to remain as ignorant as before. My own brilliant scheme continues to succeed."

Father Marc nods to the noble, "I admittedly had my doubts about this before, but who knew creating a fake cardinal hero would drive away all suspicion from us and get rid of those that will threaten our power. With Father Colin out of the way my church will reign supreme and we will of course support whoever the "Sword hero" supports."

Varden continues smiling as he nods in agreement to the corrupt priest, "Sounds perfect, and the more those idiot commoners love the sword the more they'll support the regime he supports."

Marc then looked somewhat concerned, "Still I worried about the Councilor, he is not a fool like his father. Even you can tell he is going to try something against us sooner or later."

"I'm fully aware, he is just the Queen piece on a chess board. The strongest piece by far, but even an ordinary pawn can kill her with the right moves. The Councilor will be dealt with in due time, he is actually necessary for when we make our move. I just need to find a slave that will look like him enough and continue to arrest more of our enemies." Varden answers him.

"Why are we just arresting them and not having your pawn swordman kill them and be done with them?" Marc asked.

"Because it would start looking suspicious to the council and public if such high profile individuals started to be picked off one by one like that. But don't worry, they'll be killed off altogether with no evidence of them left once I have everything to continue the plan." Varden answers once more with Marc nodding his head understanding his points.

"Ren" then decided to speak up himself, "Well you seem to take your old ass as long as possible. I think a retarded chicken could think much faster even after its head is cut off." he insults the noble.

"Silence!" Varden angrily shouted at the "Sword hero".

"AAHHH!" shouted "Ren" as he was electrocuted by purple lightning coursing through his whole body also revealing a slave crest on his chest something that would be impossible to get as a cardinal hero.

"Learn your damn place! Remember that I'm your master and you are my pet! And I will be respected as your master, and will not tolerate your shit! You got that!?" Varden yells at the supposed hero as he recovers from the intense pain while gripping his chest.

The growling imposter hero looks back up at a madly staring Varden. He wanted to do so many horrible things to this bastard it would make a professional torturer think he was going too far, but he is unable to do anything while the slave crest remains on his body. While still holding his chest the imposter hero apologized to his master, "I'm sorry sir, I'll keep my mouth shut from saying such things again."

Varden nods back, "Good, now make yourself useful and fight in the arena some more to impress those dirty commoners." he orders his slave with the imposter hero nodding and then leaves in another direction to do what his master commands.

Once out of sight, Varden goes back to talk to Marc, "As I was saying, we still need to get all the pieces together to make our big move. In the meantime, we'll deal with more potential threats to our regime."

Marc nodded back as the two started walking again, "I agree. Captain Pat Warstar of the Warstar Merc company and Duchess Valaria are both potential threats with their influence in the council and loyalty to the councilor. I'll have our allies come up with whatever we can to frame both of them as extended conspirators and have your dog arrest them as usual." he says with Varden nodding in agreement. The two immoral men continued walking discussing what to do next on there way out of the coliseum.

Back with the imposter hero, "Ren" stomps his way down to a training hall for slaves. There were many other slaves here as well, warming up or sharpening their skills to fight for their master's sake. Many of these slaves were all former criminals, bandits, raiders, and even murderers the supposed best types of slaves to work in an arena.

Once the imposter was in the room, he received the entire room's attention to be seeing a supposed cardinal hero in their presence.

It was all silent at first, then out of pure rage the Imposter screams in fury and slices up a bunch of training dummies like they were the real things he wished they were.

"Having a rough day with your master again?" asked another slave who knew the imposter, she was a human woman with tattoos across her arms and face with most of her head shaved except for a knotted ponytail.

While the imposter continued stabbing the dummy he finally responds to her, "That damn goat fucking prick! I just want to rip his damn fingers off and shoved them in his tight asshole!"

"I'll take that as a yes." she says back used to this attitude.

Many of the other slaves gathered around the supposed hero, wondering what this was about. "Lord sword hero why are you here?" one of the slaves asked.

The female slave turns to the imposter, "Should I make something up for you?" she jokingly asked feeling she knew the answer already.

After the imposter finished blowing steam though he turns and responds to the female slave directly, "Oh don't bother Vicar. I was only told to not say anything to "important people", and I doubt anyone is going to believe a bunch of stupid criminal slaves anyway."

Vicar nods back with a smile, glad to not be forced to play along with this lets pretend game as of now.

The other slaves though were just left confused, "What is the meaning of all of this?"

Vicar just got to the point, "The meaning is that this drama Queen an't the real sword hero."

"It's King, remember that, I didn't get that title for nothing. But anyway, I might as well get out of the way to you mules. My real name is Ricker Black, also known as King of the Bandits!" he announced with pride in his voice.

The slaves all looked surprised to hear all of this, especially those that had heard that title, "You mean the actual Bandit King? The butcher of the east?" one of the slaves asked, both in curiosity and fear.

Ricker nods to the slave and smugly smiles, "Yup, I gained plenty of nice titles from my reputation throughout my years. My first kill was my drunk gambling addict old man who I gutted with a broken glass bottle, then I started as a regular mugger shaking down random idiots, growing more wealthy from each steal as well as getting stronger and stronger with each kill I made. Soon I started my own bandit group, which grew more and more as we grew richer, I eventually got other bandit groups to merge with me after I sliced up the guts of their leaders and put their heads on pikes. My little bandit group would reach well over 100 members. It was so glorious, I even got paid tribute from various heads of state to either not attack them or to attack their own enemies' towns and forts, even the ones that just paid me tribute to not attack them. Hahahaha!"

One of the slaves then spoke up, "So how did you become a slave then?"

Ricker's smile disappeared and immediately looked angry again as he clench his fists, "It was because of that bitch vassal whip hero! Some spineless king hired her to stop me after I razed a small border village of his kingdom to the ground. She was by herself and yet she defeated and killed most of my best men! I did give her hell when she finally faced me, I actually had the upper hand and nearly sliced her head off, but then that cheating bitch threw a smoke bomb in my eyes and nearly broke my arm off with that damn whip!"

"So you actually fought against one of the Seven Star heroes?" another slave asked.

Ricker confirms to the group after nodding back, then continued his story, "After that bitch defeated me, I was enslaved, had my name and some of my appearances changed, this used to be blonde hair on my head if you like to know the extent of them. Those royal bastards wanted to make everyone forget about me to wipe away their incompetence and to piss me off. I was then given this damn crest and was seen as any other lowly slave. Every person that bought me including my goat fucking current one doesn't know who I am. Vicar is the only person in 5 years who found out.

Vicar nodded then spoke up, "Yes, I was once a member of his bandit group myself, even with his new look I recognize those same bloodlust eyes from anywhere."

Ricker continued speaking, "Ironically I was only picked up by that bastard Varden because I looked close enough to the cardinal sword hero kid and had my appearance changed more from surgery and magic to look almost identical to the brat."

The slaves all looked at and talked to each other about all of this information. Then one asked Ricker, "What is your master planning with this?"

Ricker finally smiles smugly again with his attitude changing, "He wants me to pretend to be the sword hero to make it easier for him to manipulate that stupid old king as he gets rid of his enemies and the allies of the king. I also impress the crowds with my awesome skills to make those who support the "sword hero" look good in proxy like the new church. And say what I will to the goat fucker, it does seem to be working, everyone now thinks I'm their god. Imagine what power one can exert if they could take full control."

Vicar then spoke up, "Too bad you're just a pawn though, unable to do what you want while bound by the crest like the rest of us."

Ricker then smiled more widely and laughed, "Hahaha, that's what most slave owners like to think! That these stupid symbols are 100% foolproof! Well after being with a bunch of different masters over the years and met with many slaves I've discovered plenty of loopholes to get off of this stupid crest for good."

This statement confused the other slaves, "Wait if you knew about these loopholes, why have you not freed yourself already?"

Ricker gladly answers that, "Simple, I wanted to wait for the right opportunity to set myself up in the perfect gig to steal and take over. Why free yourself as soon as possible to be coinless with no damn power, when you can be patient and loot off the corpse of whoever controlled you before. And that patience has paid off, with me being seen as everyone's god while I also help Varden remove those that will oppose his and his friend's hostile takeover of the kingdom. As much as I hate the bastard, his plan is working. So all I have to do now is wait for my right opportunity and exploit the loopholes and not only will I be freed, I will be seen as a god and all of Zeltoble will be my for the taking. To go from a slave to the new god-king of Zeltoble in just one night!"

All the slaves now looked excited to see how Ricker was going so far with his position and what it might mean for them if they helped out.

Something Ricker expected as he smiles, "I am going to need some help when I make my move, if you are done being slaves to these pampered asses I recommend you to join in my little scheme as well. I will be needing positions filled in my new regime anyway once I'm a true king." he invites them all.

And it seemed unanimous among these former criminals as they all raised their hands up and yelled over each other wanting to get on the imposter hero's plan and good graces.

Ricker continued to smugly smile as he saw the pieces of his own scheme come together, "Zeltoble is as good as mine."

In one of the more shady parts of Zeltoble's capital city. Beloukas led the Sword hero and his team toward a particular building.

It was the type of place where a pass was required, which the former slaver provided to the bouncer. He and the team were allowed in and they were eventually led down some stairs, and it was quite a lot of stairs that lead underground.

"There is plenty of fun to be had above ground, but for the most exciting stuff one has to look deeper under the surface." Beloukas says to the hero and finally they make it down to their destination, "And here we are!" the former slaver announced as the heroes look around to see an area that was a large loop ring full of people looking down a large hole in its center, where at the bottom of the hole were 2 groups of opponents fighting each other with weapons and magic, with the people above cheering on for there favored teams.

"An underground arena?" Raphtalia immediately guessed with Beloukas nodding.

"Indeed, up in the coliseum, opponents have to fight fair and square. Following multiple rules and regulations as huge crowds cheer on. Down here though, there are no rules or restrictions on how you fight, you always fight to win. Bet on a Darkhorse and win big or participate yourself or in groups of 3.

"And how does this not gain us attention?" Ren says back.

"You can go unanimous or make up a name for yourselves, there's no paperwork so no one will care or notice. And you will be far and away from your little double ganger. Some of the more shadier folks like to come down here as well even those of high standing, it might help you find out more about who might be involved in the fake sword hero of yours.

Ren wasn't sure if it was a good idea to get involved in an underground fighting arena, but Beloukas made some good points, both to find out more from the underground and to make some more money.

Beloukas then walked away from the group, "I'll let you do what you want, but like I said there is big money in this." he finished and left toward the audience sections to watch and learn from the underground gladiatorial scene.

Eclair and the rest then look back to Ren, "So what's the plan?" she asked.

"He said we can join groups of up to 3, so Me, Scarlet, and Raphtalia will be one group. You, Kiel, and Rishia will be another group. And Farrie with your new intense hearing abilities I want you to be our eyes and ears. Try to hear about rumors and leads around the arena on the faker and who might be involved.

Everyone nods in agreement to that order.

Ren looks out to the arena again as a new fight starts, this will be a new learning experience for him, "Hopefully this will lead to what we're looking for.".

Four days later back in Melromarc, inside deep underground in a secret cavern was part of the head of the Spirit Tortoise, it along with another head was all that was left of the Spirit Tortoise after it died and dissolved away. The other nations took one head for themselves while Melromarc kept the other for to research this giant guardian beast, even in death it could still hold many secrets that could benefit the world, especially its healing factor.

And down there Queen Mirellia was observing the project to make sure everything was in order with no difficulties. This was an uncertain time for her kingdom with the fear of both the waves and the guardian beasts awakening while the shield and sword heroes were temporarily gone. It was a lot but the wise Queen remained calm to not stress herself out knowing such things would not help her mind.

Things however changed once a soldier came running toward her, "Your majesty! The Spear and Bow heroes have escaped custody and are nowhere to be seen!"

The Queen immediately turns to the soldier with her fan up, "Did some other party get involved with this?" she asked hoping for it to not be another Kyo Ethnina to be involved.

The soldier shakes his head, "No your Majesty, the Spear finally just decided to brute force his way out of his chains and guards with the Bow following along. They both seemed to have gone in different directions after escaping the capital and we have no idea where they have gone." he responds.

Mirellia shakes her head in annoyance at all of this as she closes her fan, "I see, do what you can to find those two and make sure they don't try to escape the borders and drag them back here if you have to. I'll even have some of my shadows investigate as well."

The soldier nodded back but then said, "As you wish my Queen, but should we not get the Sword hero back to help us?" he asked with other guards around wondering the same.

"The sword is busy with another task at this moment and if I were to get a hold of him it could compromise that mission. I also don't want to be overly dependent on the cardinal heroes all the time, we have to put some effort into taking care of the problem ourselves or we'll look weak. Though if we make no progress after some time I will have to get Ren Amaki involved."

The guards nod in agreement back, "I understand my Queen. I'll do as you ask of me.".

The Queen sighs to herself at this development as she opens up her fan, "Just what I need, more for me to stress about.".

Out away from Melromarc's capital with thunderous clouds covering the night sky about to pour rain, there was an estate that wasn't the largest but still one of large size. This is the estate of the Havens, not the wealthiest but still an extremely successful merchant family.

Inside the estate near the front door that connected to their living room was the family of 3 with a house guest and some demi-human slave servants and bodyguards. This would seem like a normal family get-together, but unfortunately it was anything but one.

The Father and head of the house of Haven, his wife, and their young adult daughter formerly known as Elena Haven now known as Bitch who was still bald and with her new name branded on her head were that family.

It was not a happy scene, especially from her disgruntled parents, "Elena, I still can't believe you would risk the rest of your own family to come home! Knowing that you are wanted by the crown!" Bitch's father scolds his daughter with a stern voice

"Father where else was I supposed to go? Just wander around the forests until monsters eat me?" Bitch argued back trying to defend her actions.

Her mother was also equally disgruntled, "Well I like to ask what the hell were you also thinking getting involved in releasing the Spirit Tortoise!? Do you know how much destruction that thing did?"

"Wait a minute, I didn't help release anything. I just went along with that idiot Spear hero and he failed to kill the damn thing." Bitch argued in her defense.

"And you think that is going to matter to the Queen?! You were still an accomplice in the act and fought against the Sword and Shield hero when they tried to stop him!" her Mom yelled back

Bitch sighed as she rubs her head, she knew she couldn't argue against her parent's points and it was doubtful she could do the same with the Queen as well, "Look maybe we'll just lay low and wait until the waves are long over and the heroes fuck off back to there homeworld's, and I'm sure this whole thing will be forgotten about." she tried to rationalize.

"Elena! That thing destroyed the Tortoise Kingdom's capital! So many people died just trying to put that thing down! This is not something that will just "blow over", you saw yourself what happened to the Bow Hero's party when they got caught. They'll do the same to you and your friend if they find out where you're hiding, and then most likely arrest those that aid you as well." Her father scolds her, as much as Bitch wanted to argue back, she knew her dad was right and she and her "friend" were in deep hot water if they are founded.

And speaking of said "friend" it was the formerly known fellow Spear teammate Lesty now named Bigger Bitch, like with her "friend" she remains bald with her new name branded on her forehead. She was laying on a couch looking bored while throwing a small ball in the air and catches it, "Yeah, we're both dead if we get caught, so we need to do something else to get the crown off our backs. Maybe we can disguise some peasants to look like us and turn them over to the crown and they'll be executed in our place, that could work if we can find some who are dumb enough to do it since I know the crown will know if we use slave crests."

Both of Bitches parents looked on in disgust to Bigger Bitch, "Elena, explain again why we are even allowing her to remain here?" Bitch's mother asked annoyed.

"Because she'll tattle on the crown about us here if we don't help her out." Bitch says in annoyance, she never really liked her or even Bitchwhore, but knows it wouldn't be easy to get her away from their backs.

Bigger bitch nods to her, "Yep, and my parents are greedy snitches, they'll turn me in as soon as I appear in their estate to protect their own statuses, so you're going to be stuck with me until we come up with a plan for me to get the hell out of here. Preferable with plenty of coins with us."

As much as Bitch's parents hated that they were forced to care for this spoiled brat, they understood her point that they did need a plan. Bitch's mom tried to brainstorm something, "Perhaps we could flee to the Kerchan isle's far east from here and change our names."

Bitch's father shakes his head in disagreement to that idea, "The Queen is going to suspect something if we tried something like that especially after what happened to our daughter, you remember yourself when the authorities came by asking many questions, she'll know about every lie we told them. I also don't see why we should be forced to uproot our own lives just because of our daughter's foolish decisions." he says to her out loud to make sure his daughter is listening as well.

Bitch's mom nodded in agreement and looked like she was going to cry, "Just how did we allow this to happen? I thought being with one of the cardinal heroes would've helped her, made her less of a lazy freeloader, and understand she needs to take her life more seriously. But instead that damn Spear hero just allowed her to continue her worse tendencies and ruin her own life. Oh sweetheart where did we go wrong?" she says out loud to her husband as the two comfort each other.

Being forced to hear that, Bitch now felt extreme guilt. She never wanted to upset her parents like this and hurt them. As much as she still blames Motoyasu for everything, she can't dodge all the blame for hurting her folks. They had great expectations for her and all she did was break their hearts.

She originally just wanted to be a part of a cardinal hero's team who won't care about the likes of her not doing any real work and Motoyasu seemed perfect. She wanted to just go with the flow and allow him and Myne to do whatever they wanted, and she could just sit back and cheer for him. And after the waves were done she would be seen as a great hero and just live off on Motoyasu the rest of her life even as a lesser wife to him. But instead the Spear hero proved to be a loser who just made her life worse and worse. She can at least sigh in relief knowing she won't have to see his face again.

*Bang Bang*

There was then a loud knocking on the front door.

This immediately alerted everyone in the house, "Shit! It must be the authorities! How did they find us!?" Bitch shouted fearing for the worst with her parents looking terrified as well, fearing not only their own lives for harboring their criminal daughter, but what fate will await her. All with no time to hide or make a run for it.

However, before the Haven's could do anything else the door busts open. Thankfully for the Haven's it wasn't the guard or authorities, but unthankfully it was the Spear hero himself who just busted himself through, looking dirty, sweaty, and tired from running all day and being forced to do hard labor before that.

"The Spear hero?! What the hell are you doing here!?" Bitch's father shouted angrily at him with his wife not looking happy to see the source of all of their problems here.

After Ponytail Slut finished his heavy breathing and wiped his forehead he looked toward the couple, "Mr. and Mrs. Haven I've come to see if I can-" but before he could finish he turns and saw Bitch and Bigger Bitch themselves, both confused and annoyed that he was here, "Elena! Lesty! I found you! After all of this time!" he cheers to them.

The two former companions did not look remotely happy he was back, "Motoyasu what the hell are you doing here!?" Bitch shouts at him knowing the presence of the Spear hero in their household risks getting the attention of the crown which is not what she wants.

Ponytail Slut though didn't care or thought much of it and was just happy to see his supposed loved ones that would understand him, "I didn't know what happen to you two since the Spirit Tortoise, I was afraid something like that bastard Kyo or evil rapist Bakugou got there dirty hands on you. I would've looked sooner if I could but I was passed out for a while and the Queen basically turned me into a slave for doing nothing wrong. But I'm glad to see you two safe and sound."

"Good you see us alive, now how about you get the hell out of here before you draw attention!" Bitch yells at him not showing any sympathy for the cardinal hero's troubled mind.

"Wait a minute! I'm here to get the party back together! Once we find and free Myne we can continue to get stronger and prove to the world we are the true heroes.". He says back remaining dense as ever.

Bigger Bitch just laughed at that, "Ha, you mean continue to be with a loser like you?! The only reason I stuck around your sorry ass for so long is if you can make our livelihoods better, and all you did was make it even worse."

The Spear Hero now looked confused about how cold his supposed perfect girls were acting toward him now, "Huh, but wait we can try something different and get away from Melromarc we might get a chance to-"

Bitch then interrupted, "We tried that last time with the Tortoise Kingdom and all that accomplished is ruining our lives even more! Now get out before you make us lose our heads!"

The Spear Hero continued to not understand what was going on, "But… but… we're a team? We're supposed to be together at all times, good and bad. How can you two just-"

Bigger Bitch interrupted again, "Team?! We only tolerated your idiocy because you were a cardinal hero, and all you did with that title was make yourself into a joke and then the number 1 enemy to the entire world."

Bitch nods in agreement, "We were only a part of your team because you were originally convenient to us, to get rich and famous, and look what you did to us instead?! You are nothing more than a penniless vagabond now.

The Spear Hero couldn't believe what he was hearing, the people he trusted the most out of anyone were now just dismissing him as nothing, "But… but Elena, Lesty…. I… I… love you both, you girls all meant the world to me… I would sacrifice everything I know to help and protect you." he bags now starting to cry.

Bigger Bitch continued twisting the knife, "Well we never loved you back, like she said already you were a convenience to us before and now you are just a burden. And to think the peasant girl from before actually did bother enough to care for you."

"Ri… Rino?" he guessed with Bitch nodding.

"Yeah she actually wanted to be with you as a proper teammate from before, but your idiocy just made her ditch you and join with the shield hero. And frankly, we should've done something similar and went along with the Sword hero after the third wave."

"Ren!? You would've left me to be with Ren?!" he asked

Bitch nods back.

Bigger Bitch then wanted to rub it in, "Yeah, we also were going to go with the Bow hero's little mutiny on Piece of Shit and left your sorry ass in the woods before you finish counting to 200 only for the shield hero to show up and ruined the whole thing."

The Spear Hero continued to have his reality be shattered with each word the two would say, "How.. How.. how could you, how could you two just take advantage of me like that and lie to my face?"

"Like we said, we just wanted to ride on your status. Nothing more. Now just leave!" Bitch says back getting more annoyed that he wasn't getting the hint.

"But… but… Elena I could…"

Bitch though had enough and just slapped the Spear hero across the face, "Will you get it through your thick head already! We never loved you, and never will! Now just get the hell out of my parent's house before the authorities come for your sorry ass!"

"But… but…"

"You heard her! LEAVE!" Bigger Bitch screamed and literally kicks the Spear hero in the face with her boot.

The spear hero struggled to get back up and as he looked up he sees Bitch's pissed-off parents.

Bitch's mom spoke out first, "Spear Hero, I just wanted my daughter to make something of herself. Allow her to be a better woman. But all you have done was allow her to sink into her worst habits and make her into a wanted criminal. You are no hero to anyone, you're a corrupting devil that no one should've seen as a hero to begin with."

Bitch's father then points to the door, "Now get out of here and never show your face to us again!" he demands of the Spear hero.

"Please. I have no one else to-"

"Throw him out now!" Bitch's father orders his servants and they immediately ran up and grabbed the Spear hero by the shoulders as they dragged him out of the house despite his cries and begging.

Once out the front door, they threw his pathetic butt out in the pouring rain as he lands face-first into the mud.

The door closed and was locked and blocked off from the inside.

The depressed muddy Spear Hero was now crying tears from his eyes , he then got himself back up and banged on the door, "Please! Please! Elena! Lesty! Don't leave me alone! Please help me!" he cried hoping his girls would come to their senses.

But after a minute of banging, he lost any will or strength to continue to do so. The most he could do now was look out from a window to see into the room again.

However right up at the window was Bitch again looking down at the pathetic man with a cold stare. All she did was pull the blinds down on him, denying him from seeing inside anymore.

The Spear hero's heart was all but shattered, the people he looked up to the most had abandoned him and never truly loved him to begin with, they were pretty much just leeches who were done sucking on his blood.

The Spear hero grips his weapon and some of that sadness quickly turns into anger, "Fine! Do whatever the hell you greedy pigs want! I hope you get fat and ugly from that greed and die off by it!" he yells all he can.

But after that outburst, he sulks further into depression as he drags himself away from the estate. He had no idea where he was going now, the Spear had nothing nor much of a purpose anymore. All he did now was cry and walk through the muddy ground in pouring rain while it thundered.

Back within the house though, Bitch took a small peek through the blinds, despite her anger and hatred of him, she also felt a little bit sad for the Spear hero. She thought of what she did wrong herself, perhaps she could've helped lead him to a better path once Bitchwhore was out of the way, but instead continued to ride on his coattails and kept things the same with Bigger Bitch. Could she have made him better and lightened his dark path? Could she have been his hero?

"And that is another win for the Dark Angels!" shouted the announcer of the underground fighting arena as crowds cheered toward the Dark Angels who easily beat up their armed opponents to a pulp.

The Dark Angels unknown to the audience were Ren, Raphtalia, and Scarlet still in decorative masks and cloaks to hide their identities.

It has been four days since the Sword group started their careers in underground fighting. They spent most of their time here and went back to Beloukas's uncle's tavern to get some sleep.

As Ren told them before, the group had split up into two to go by the arena's rules, Ren's mini group was the Dark Angels, Eclair's group consisted of her, Kiel, and Rishia and were the Knights of Pain wearing different colored cloaks and knight helmets to hide their identities as well.

Before each match they would bet on themselves and win big money from their easy wins along with the cash prizes they get for the fights themselves, each of them paid the bets individually. While it might've been more mid-max to bet all of their money at once, it would look suspicious when one guy keeps betting huge gambles and win bigger money from the same group over and over, it was a lot less suspicious when multiple different people make there own big but not noticeable bets. Either way, the group was earning big money as they bet more and more.

Despite the competition, it wasn't hard for the experienced heroes, though they both held back their power and looked a lot weaker than they appeared to make their odds and betting payouts higher than they would be. Raphtalia's illusion magic helped out with that as well.

All the while they were fighting, Farrie kept on her investigation walking around pretending to be an audience member to overhear what she could on this imposter sword hero or other things that could relate to him.

Right now the Sword hero himself was at a bar that overlooked the arena, awaiting for when his next match starts up while watching another fight.

"Well well, if it isn't the lead Dark angel." said a voice that Ren turned toward, it was of a beautiful woman, with long black hair and blue eyes, she had on very scantily clade blue clothing that consisted of a bra and loincloth that showed off what appears to be stripe tattoo's at the sides of her body.

Ren had seen her down fighting in the arena before, he knew she was more than a pretty face with her powerful lightning/electricity magic, she was called Nadia and was the underground arena's current champion, "Yeah, and do you want something from me?" he asked while deepening his voice to not be recognized

Nadia immediately snapped her fingers, and as if on cue the bartender of the bar threw down 2 glass drinks toward the beautiful woman.

Nadia grabs both glasses, keeping one for herself, and slides the other to the undercover hero, "Just wanted a drinking buddy for the night, no big deal. Though you've been making a big scene since your debut along with the Knights of Pain. Winning match after match without a single loss. That's no small feat from newcomers." she says while drinking down her whole glass in a few gulps.

Ren didn't know if this woman was truly being playful or had ulterior motives, but continued to play along, "The years of training weren't for nothing, and having good allies helps as well." he responds as he looks at the glass wondering if he should drink it or not.

The bartender threw another glass to Nadia and continued the conversation, "Can't disagree with that. But you're not from around here are you? You even from Zeltoble?" she asked as she gulped down the drink in seconds like the last one.

Ren started to feel something suspicious about this woman asking this kind of question. Once again he played along, "No, I come from Tervein." he lied.

"Tervein? Interesting, don't hear much about them other than that failed coup they had a while ago. Any reason you're here?" Nadia continued asking while she was handed yet another drink.

"Just to make money. Heard a lot of it can be made by fights like these." Ren somewhat lies as he is about tempted to drink the drink. But just before he sipped the glass he quickly saw two red balls at the bottom of the glass and quickly recognized them as the rucolu fruit. He saw in experience what these things can do to people, the Spear hero had to have his stomach pumped to get them out of his body and Bakugou had to puke his out from just eating one.

He didn't want to take chances and just placed the drink back on the table and pushed it away from himself, with Nadia looking somewhat annoyed he didn't take the drink.

They then heard the announcer, "Up next is Fohl! The little mad dog of a white tiger demi-human! Against noble scion and master of the blade, Yuji! The odds are in Fohl's favor, but if you think this silver spoon young man can tip the scales then bet on him and become rich yourselves!"

The two looked down the arena and saw the two opponents, on the right was the so-called "master of the sword" who didn't look like he was experienced in a fight at all and looked to be some noble's kid who wanted to show off.

Fohl on the other hand, despite being young himself looked a lot more confident and didn't look like he was remotely nervous or even enthusiastic and seemed to just want this fight done and over with.

It did admittedly surprise Ren to see a white tiger demi-human like this considering all the ones he had seen before were of nobles in Siltvelt, ones who tried to kill him for being "the sword demon". It seems that unless they have money on hand the council races are not given special status or privileges outside of Siltvelt.

"Now let the fight begin!" the announcer shouted and the match starts with the Yuji kid immediately charging with his sword and swiping at the white Tiger demi-human.

But Fohl just casually dodges the attacks without any effort, no matter how many times Yuji swung the kid continued missing the demi-human.

It was keeping the Sword hero's attention as this weaponless young tiger kid made a fool out of the "master swordsmen".

However, this flawless dodging came to an abrupt end when after another miss Fohl jumped back out of the way with Yuji shouting "Fire sword!" and blasts a fire ball from his sword. Despite the fireball looking on the weaker side, Fohl took it head-on and just fell to the ground seemingly defeated.

"And there you have it! Yuji is the winner!" The announcer shouted setting off a huge stream of cheers and boo's from the stands mostly from those that won or lost their bets.

Ren knew what was going on with that match, especially after witnessing Yuji throwing a small bottle at Fohl's head, a bottle that had money inside it.

"Rigged the match for extra cash," Ren said out loud.

Nadia nods back after being thrown her fourth drink after gulping down the last one, "Such a shame isn't it? To waste one's talent."

"Sometimes people make sacrifices just to survive or for the greater good of other people. I've learned that personal pride isn't inherently bad if it motivates you, but one also shouldn't let it control your life." Ren says, reflecting a bit on himself after he has gone through so much since being summoned in this world.

Nadia nodded in agreement after she finished her fifth drink, "I know the feeling, believe it or not, I have many lives on my hands I need to protect, and I do anything to make sure they are safe. Even if it means crushing those I may start to like." she says without a smile this time.

Ren knew what she may be talking about considering their roles here and he didn't like what she was implying.

After she finished her last drink Nadia finally smiled again and walked off, "Well it was nice getting to know you. Good luck with the rest of the night, you're going to need it." she finished as Nadia walked off strutting herself with all of that alcohol barely affecting her mental and physical state other than looking red at the cheeks.

Ren knew that was more than just a friendly conversation and tonight he will have to be on the cautious side. He knows from experience that some of these competitors weren't above violence outside the ring. He had a few encounters with a bunch of competitors trying to jump him and his team before and after battles to either weaken their opponents before the match or get revenge for getting beaten and losing big money. Most of them were pushovers that easily got beaten even by a hero holding back most of his power. Nadia though is the arena's champion and was more than an alcoholic pretty face.

After that Ren left the bar to meet up with his team in an isolated area away from other eyes. Ren immediately talks to Rishia holding a piece of paper, "Ok, so who are we up next?".

Rishia nodded and looked at what the paper said, she then immediately looked shocked, "Oh my, we're going up against each other next! Dark Angels vs the Knights of Pain!"

"So we're going to fight one another? That's interesting." Raphtalia comments.

Kiel nods toward her, "Well as far as everyone here knows we're separate groups, and considering both of our constant wins it was probably inevitable."

"So are we really going to fight each other master Ren?" Scarlet asked, she and the others knew about the fact that fighters are allowed to forfeit matches beforehand to save themselves some face from being beaten up by a superior opponent.

Ren nods his head in approval though, "Sure, we want to keep up appearances. Forfeiting would look off from so far an unbeatable team. I think it could be a fun and interesting experience for all of us. Though make sure to bet everything on the Dark Angels and nothing on the Knights." he says with most of the group nodding in approval.

Eclair though didn't look as enthusiastic about this whole thing, "As much fun this has been, we have to remember we're on an important mission to deal with your doubleganger, not fighting and gambling in underground tournaments."

Ren let out a sigh, "Yes I know, but we still need to get more info." he then turned toward Farrie, "So find anything new?" he asked her.

Farrie shakes her head in disapproval, "Not too much, just more news on the "sword hero" arresting more supposed corrupt nobles, merchants, and merc leaders. Not much different from the news boards or what the Queen's shadows had been saying on their ends. Everything else is people wanting to see if their bets will pay off or if a fighter was going to kill their opponent."

Ren shakes his head toward her, "Well we can't give up on it now after spending so much time here. Try to listen in from some of the sponsors or some of the fighters for information. I'm sure we'll get some sort of lead on who is directly involved with this faker before we reveal ourselves." he says to Farrie who nods in agreement to her leader.

Rishia then read from the paper once more and looked somewhat surprised again, "Wait! It also says that whoever comes out victorious at the end of the match will be fighting for the championship against the current champion, Nadia."

Ren was immediately curious by that, his little encounter with her made more sense now if she knew about the scheduled fights beforehand, "Well is there any info on her?" he asked out of curiosity.

Rishia shakes her head in disagreement, "Not too much, it just says she uses lightning/electricity magic and fights with a large harpoon.".

Hearing that made Raphtalia think for a second, "A harpoon with lightning powers?" she then turned toward Kiel who was also finding that description familiar, "Kiel do you think that-"

"I don't know Raphtalia, it could be just a coincidence." Kiel responds not wanting to draw conclusions.

This also made Ren curious, "Are you guys familiar with this woman?" he asked.

Raphtalia reacted surprised and shook her head to him, "Oh no, it's nothing Sir Ren nothing to worry about." she responded nervously.

Ren could tell there was more to this, but he wasn't going to pry at her privacy and just shook his head, "Ok then, let's just continue. No more holding back, we'll fight with all we have once we're up against the champion."

"Right!" the group announced together in agreement, it was definitely going to be an interesting night.

"ALRIGHT EVERYONE! It's time for the penultimate round toward the championship! We have two underdogs who have both risen high in the ranks in just a short time, winning round after round without a single loss yet. But now we'll see whose streak will be broken tonight! On the right, we have the Knights of Pain and on the left we have the Dark Angels! Betting odds are almost identical so cash in now to get your big wins on your favorite team!" shouted the announcer with a loud cheering crowd following him.

The 2 groups were standing toward each other in anticipation of fighting one another. Even though they all knew Ren's group had to win, they still wanted to make the fight interesting to watch.

Eclair smiles and points her sword toward Ren, "Let's see if you're that's all cracked up to be Angels! Hope you don't end up crying like babies once we're done!" she mocks Ren's group playing along with the act with Kiel and Rishia looking serious themselves for the fight.

Ren smiles back as he takes out his sword, "I've had plenty who underestimated me, they usually are the ones crying for their moms after I'm done with them." he mocks back with Raphtalia and Scarlet also ready to fight and test themselves with their own teammates.

It was silent for a few more seconds until,


"Fight!" the announcer shouted.

Rishia immediately enchants Eclair's sword and now imbued with magic fires multiple powerful blasts at the angels forcing the 3 to separate from one another.

Kiel jumps and attacks Raphtalia with her ax with the two swinging and blocking each attack.

Scarlet remaining in her human form jumps and attacks Rishia as the girl uses her own wind magic to make her light on the feet. Scarlet jumps and attacks Rishia from multiple angles trying to get a proper hit on the mage as she blocks each attack with her sword while firing multiple different magic attacks at the Princess Filolial.

Eclair immediately attacks using her sword skills only using her magic to boost her physical skills to overwhelm the hero as he fights back.

The 6 mostly fought against their counterparts, but Eclair would use the skills of both Rishia and Kiel to her advantage.

Kiel uses her earth magic to change the landscape of the arena making the heroes Jump all over the place while fighting each other.

Rishia had learned of the Arcane missiles spell from Rino and created and fired magic explosive balls at Scarlet and Ren. They weren't as big or as powerful as Rino's but still packed enough of a punch to avoid at any cost.

Scarlet was the most agile of the 6 as she sped herself around the area to help Ren and Raphtalia while avoiding whatever Rishia threw at her in pursuit as Kiel did something similar trying to use her earth magic to isolate Ren, only for the sword hero to dodge each attempt.

It was an engaging battle to the audiences, with it seemingly an even match with no party having the advantage.

After another minute of the cat and mouse game with the 2 parties, Ren and Eclair were fighting directly again as they rapidly swung and blocked their swords from each other. It was so fast it was hard for some people to keep track of the swordsmen.

The 2 clashed one more time as the 2 charged their swords up with most of their mana trying to overpower the other.

But as the two struggled with their clash Eclair whispered to Ren, "Ok, so when exactly do I slip up for this match?" she asked, it was always weird to her that Ren never specifically stated when they were supposed to fake lose for the match.

Ren smirks, "I think right about now." he says and kicks Eclair in the unguarded shins.

"OW!" Eclair yelled in shock which made her slip her grip, allowing the Sword hero to overpower her as he slashed across her chest multiple times.

"Use your wind now!" Ren shouts, and with that gets Scarlet's attention as she jumps herself away from Rishia and fires a wind spell at Ren.

A huge surge of wind is collected from the sword in a combo attack, as the hero twirls around the weapon with a great amount of power. And before Eclair could recover herself, from both the wind spell and a large amount of magic he imbued his sword, Ren slashed across the air creating a powerful gust of wind at Eclair, which hits her sending the noble flying toward Rishia until she and the wind attack hits the poor girl knocking them both out of battle as they lay on the floor.

Kiel was now all by herself as she was still struggling against Raphtalia, but this ended just as quickly after Raphtalia shouted "Blinding light!" firing a bright light on Kiel's eyes, temporarily blinding the canine warrior.

Before she could recover, Scarlet flew in and combined her and Raphtalia's strength the two did powerful slash attacks that knocked Kiel away flying until she smacked into the equally down Eclair and Rishia.

Even though the 3 could've still fought, they knew they already provided a good enough show and were supposed to lose anyway as they remained looking defeated for everyone.

"And there you have it folks! The Knights have finally been defeated by our winners, the Dark Angels!" the announcer shouts, and with that a thunderous crowd of cheering and boos came from the audiences, though the latter was more from the ones who betted on the knights and lost a lot of money on a match they didn't know was rigged from the start.

The "knights" finally got themselves up and they headed their way out of the arena with Ren smiling back at them, "Not bad out there." he congrats them with no one else being able to hear them from the stands.

Eclair nods her head in approval, "Same to you, though you did basically cheat back there from the shin kicking." she joked back.

"It was never stated such moves were against the rules, in a real battle you got to do what you can to win right?" Ren says back, throwing words she said before back at her making the noblewoman smile warmly as she along with Rishia and Kiel leave to collect their betting money and bet it all on the Dark Angels once more.

While all of that was happening up in the stands Farrie continued to snoop around to find out any more information or clues on the imposter, but like before she was not finding a single lead. It was getting on her nerves by how little progress she had made. She didn't want to look useless among her own team who were doing their jobs in the arena, what Ren told her motivated the spy to start being more risky going into areas she was not supposed to be at, now near the passageways where fighters can move from below back up to the stands or other places above.

It seemed empty at first with no one around, but through her detection magic Farrie quickly discovered two individuals from opposite ends of the hallway heading toward each other making the spy of the Sword Hero hide herself in a dark corner.

One individual was the young white tiger Demi-human Fohl, and the other was a massive wolf beastman, the two were walking until they were finally facing each other, "Ah! Fohl good to see you here. How is your sister doing?" the large wolfman asked in a condescending matter.

"She's fine Hale, but what do you want with me?" Fohl asked not enthusiastic about where this was going knowing what the wolf man was talking about.

"We just want to make sure if you're in on the big event tonight that the Sword Hero is planning? Everyone knows how useful you'll be if you're part of the cause." the Wolfman asked of the young kid.

Fohl looked nervous now while scratching the back of his head, "I don't know Hale, what the sword hero is talking about sounds like mass treason. If we're discovered it might mean-"

Hale then interrupted him, "Don't worry kid, as long as we act fast and do what we're told. We'll be rid of all of our masters and get loads and loads of money in our pockets once the new regime is placed."

The young white tiger still didn't like what he was saying, "But killing the king and his family? This just sounds wrong even if we come out of it unscathed."

"Oh they are all just privileged inbreeds, who cares about them especially when you got that sick sister of yours to take care of." Hale says back which made Fohl look more and more guilty and uncertain.

"I've asked Atla about this thing, and she says it isn't right. We would be attacking innocents who have nothing to do with the King and his actions. This revolt is going to harm innocent people." Fohl argues back which was now starting to annoy the Wolfman.

"What the hell does she know, she's literally blind now and probably also delusional, so why even listen to her nonsense." Hale insults back which strikes a nerve in Fohl

"Don't insult my sister you bastard!" Fohl yells defending her, but this just gets him pushed against the wall.

"Either you are in or you'll stay out of our way! The big event is coming in a couple of hours so if you want to get out of your little rat hole you'll know what's good for you." Hale yelled back as he finally left until he was out of eyes and earshot of the white tiger kid.

After that Fohl got himself back up. He still felt completely conflicted, he wanted a better life for himself and his poor sister. But what this thing the supposed cardinal hero was planning on amounted to random murder and mindless chaos, even if he didn't like being a slave this was not the moral thing to do it. And he knew for certain Atla would never forgive him if she found out he was involved in such of thing even if it was for her own good.

It was something he had to think about soon, this plan was going to happen late at night whether he was in or not, so he moved away to meet up with his sick Sister again.

"Excuse me." said a voice that caught the tiger kid by surprise as he turned to see a human woman with green hair.

"May I help you miss?" Fohl asked the random woman.

But before he could process why she was here to begin with she held out a big wad of cash in front of his face, "How would you like to be at the service of the true sword hero?"

"Huh?" Fohl expressed wondering what he just got himself into.

Back in the arena, it was all set for the next group of opponents. This match going to be the biggest one in the night.

The announcer was very proud to be the one to shout, "Alright folks! It's time for the event you have all been waiting for! This is the match for the seasonal championship! On one side we have our underdogs who rose up rapidly from the ranks and just won against another set of rising underdogs, despite their looks the 3 all pack a punch! Here are the Dark Angels!" he shouts pointing down to Ren's group with Scarlet waving to the audience as she usually does.

"And on the other end is our consistent champion for many seasons! The Drunken Lightning! The goddess of victory! Nadia!" he shouts again with Nadia herself walking into the arena, now holding a large harpoon weapon. No longer showing a friendly face, she now looked serious with her game face staring at her opponents that she was ready to defeat who unknown to her was the disguised sword hero.

Once the opponents were up next to each other ready to fight, Nadia went back to smiling at the hero, "My my, so you really are committed to fighting tonight Angel? It would've been wiser to have forfeited the match and saved you and your group's dignity's." she says to Ren.

"I was once forced to kiss someone else's boot in front of people, so caring about dignity means nothing to me. But there is a lot at stake for not just me but for many people other people." Ren says back showing he was not going to back down from the passive-aggressive threats Nadia was making.

However as Raphtalia gets a good look at this woman, she starts to look familiar to her.

Nadia smiled and decided to walk up closer to Ren until the woman jumped herself at him almost looking like she was hugging the sword hero.

The sword hero thought the woman was drunk until he heard her whisper, "Many lives are at stake for me too, and I'll do what I can to protect them. Even if it means breaking all of your bones to do so." Nadia then jumps back getting herself a good distance from Ren once more showing her game face with the Sword Hero and his group doing the same.

It was silent for a few more seconds as everyone including the audience above waited in anticipation of the ultimate fight of the night.

The announcer then finally shouted with a ding of a bell, "And… Begin!"

Ren immediately went on the offensive and sprinted himself at Nadia with Raphtalia and Scarlet doing the same at different angles to overwhelm the fighter.

Despite being outnumbered 3 to 1 Nadia was able to block each attack without any effort as she also struck back with both ends of her harpoon.

For a few seconds, it was back and forth blocking and striking with neither opponent getting the upper hand. That was until Nadia started chanting a spell, "Source of thy power I order thee, decipher the laws of nature. Thunder burst!" she then fired a massive blast of electricity from her harpoon.

"Jump!" Ren shouted with him and his team jumping in different directions.

"Hundred swords!" he shouted after he landed himself back on the ground firing his energy projectiles at Nadia.

The warrior spins her harpoon around as she blocks each attack. Scarlet then attacks from the, air dive bombing at the woman's face. Nadia blocked her attack in time, but doing that left her open to be slashed from behind by Raphtalia.

"Lightning speed!" Nadia shouted and with electricity covering her body forcing the girls to back away. With her new speed Nadia attacked to knock the two out but Scarlet kept herself in the air gripping at the stone walls and Raphtalia kept dodging the woman.

After he activates his own speed skill Ren then jumps in to directly fight Nadia once more, with the two now equal in speed the two dueled with each other trying to overwhelm the other, but despite her skills Nadia wasn't as fast in reflexes as Ren with him getting another hit on the warrior.

While staggered, Scarlet jumps from the walls once more dive-bombed to attack Nadia, this time being able to kick the woman in the face.

Nadia tries to fire more electric attacks at the three, but the Dark Angels can see through Nadia's magic attacks as they dodge and avoid them.

Scarlet attempts to attack Nadia from behind with a kick again, but before she gets close a huge burst of water comes from the arena sending her in the air a bit.

Ren and Raphtalia immediately looked confused, "What's going on?!" Raphtalia immediately reacted, and to her own fear Ren was now looking extremely stressed out and nervous as the water filled up the arena to his knees.

The rest of Ren's team watching from above also feared for their hero, "Oh no not water." Eclair says, Ren's whole team knew about his phobia of water and hoped this wasn't going to compromise the match.

"Amazing! The two sides moved so fast, that a field changed spell took effect!" the announcer states what he thought he was seeing.

But Nadia smiles at this knowing what is really happening, "Boundless sea is a core magic spell that temporarily submerges the entire area in water. They want me to put on a good show."

Scarlet holding onto a wall again immediately yelled about it, "That isn't fair! You're cheating!"

Ren would've yelled something similar but he was trying all he could to not stress out and keep a brave face from all the water he was in now.

Nadia just smiles and sees through the sword hero's fears, "You got to give what the audience wants. And it shouldn't be bad if you're someone not afraid of a little water. But I think now it's time for me to finally fight seriously." her smile then immediately went back to a more serious face.

She then started spinning the water herself into a big whirlpool. Until the whole pool makes Nadia rise up in a column of water.

Ren continued to be stressed out but managed to at least snap out of it trying to be brave from his phobia after all the swimming lessons Neia taught him in Cal Mira.

"Look out!" Raphtalia shouted to Ren as Nadia then fires off powerful electric bolts.

Thankfully Ren and Raphtalia managed to jump just in time to avoid being electrocuted in the water now gripping the side of the walls as well. Nadia though just fires another bolt again forcing Ren to jump back into the water as the blast hits the wall.

Thinking he has the hero cornered Nadia attempts to fire her attack again at Ren's area.

"Master no!" Scarlet shouted and finally since coming to Zeltoble she transformed into her bird form and with a powerful wind spell it made Nadia miss the attack blasting into the ceiling.

Ren was happy to see her and immediately jumped on the back of her bird form. Now he will no longer have to worry about the water while on her.

It annoyed Nadia, but she just smiled again, "So the girl can transform? Well it looks like it will be my turn now." she said then with her magic Nadia made the column of water consume her whole body, taking almost all of the water in the arena with the Dark Angels not knowing what is going on but knew they would not like it.

Eventually that big column of water finally turns into a big ball in the middle until it finally bursts apart, and with it emerges Nadia now in her most powerful form. She was now a lot bigger and muscular, resembling an Orca with smooth black and white skin and a wide fin tail, but with arms and legs. While still in her original clothing with her harpoon.

"She was an orca demi-human the whole time!?" Ren yelled, with all the many demi-humans he had seen since being isekai'd this was a first for him.

Raphtalia though had a completely different reaction, once she got a good look at her, she immediately recognized who the woman she was fighting is.

Kiel from above also immediately recognized her, "Is.. Is that really her?"

"Who is her?" Rishia asked confused.

"Sadeena." Kiel responds, Rishia was still confused never hearing that name before, Eclair however did and was surprised herself if this was really her of all people.

Back in the arena though once her transformation was completed and she landed back on the ground all the water returned to the floor as well. All the while Ren continued to remain on Scarlet's back.

"Here I come!" Nadia shouted as she landed back in the water and swam herself through the shallow water.

Scarlet dashes herself across the water as she and Ren dodge and block any attacks Nadia throws at them with her harpoon. She seemed to have used most of her mana to make up that form so had to rely on physical attacks until her mana charged up again.

But even without magic Nadia was still a beast of a warrior being physically strong with tight reflexes while in her element. Ren tries all he can to fight back but he struggles to properly fight while riding on Scarlet's back and wanting to avoid touching the water.

Raphtalia however just stood there in the middle of the arena, still awestruck to now know who this woman was.

Unfortunately said woman who was now breathing heavily from her attacks being blocked over and over noticed the girl out in the open was just standing there and now ignored Ren and Scarlet and charged her with the Harpoon.

"Raph-I mean Rachael get out of the way!" Ren shouted with her fake name not sure why she was acting like this.

It seemed like Nadia was going to crush the poor Raccoon woman, until she finally said out loud, "Sadeena?".

After hearing that, in just the nick of time, the Orca demi-human stopped herself. The scene made a complete turn with Nadia now just standing there collecting her own thoughts especially after Raphtalia lifts up her mask to show her face to the woman.

"Ra-Raphtalia, is that really you?" Nadia asked the girl as she put her weapon down, "And that means, the leader of the Dark Angels, is he?".

Raphtalia nods back at the woman, "Yes, but why don't we talk later when we are not being seen by other people." she responds, as much as Raphtalia wanted to talk to Sadeena she remembers why they were here in the first place and didn't want to ruin it by her actions.

Sadeena quickly understood that and wished to eventually find out more about this situation herself. She then started hearing a commotion up in the audience who wanted to know why she stopped the fight for whatever reason.

Sadeena knew she couldn't stop now and turned her attention back to Ren and Scarlet who were both wondering what this was about themselves.

The Orca warrior then jumps out of the water toward the sword hero. Ren reacted quickly and blocked the harpoon attack even after Sadeena electrified it with her now replenished mana.

Once pushed back, Sadeena fires an electric attack again with Scarlet jumping out of the way from it with the bird princess using her wings for a wind attack. That combined with a flame blast from Ren's sword, they fired at Sadeena with the combo attack blasting the Orca woman away into a wall.

Sadeena dropped herself back down on the ground in the water gripping her harpoon harder, "I think it's time I put an end to this! I'll finish you off with my signature move!" she shouted though Raphtalia quickly saw that she winked toward her.

Raphtalia quickly knew what this was about and shouted toward Ren, "Give her all you got master! Don't hold back!" she shouted.

Ren still didn't know what this was about but wasn't going to question his teammate as he looked back at Sadeena again.

"Here I go!" Nadia shouted and with her magic she gathered all the water in the arena and turned it into a giant tidal wave.

Ren was genuinely scared as hell by the sight but knew he couldn't panic now and focused himself, "Use your wind magic again!" Ren ordered Scarlet with her once more using her wings to create two massive wind cyclones that managed to stop the wave.

Nadia fires a huge bolt of electricity at Scarlet but Ren counters her with a fire bolt of his own causing a beam struggle between the two briefly, though Nadia is strained enough as she does this while maintaining her Orca form and eventually stops herself with the fire blast hitting her at the wall again.

Raphtalia and Scarlet finally put an end to this with the two combining their wind and light attack directly at the Orca warrior with a mass of light energy and the water trapped in the wind being blasted directly on her.

Eventually, the attack stopped and once the water was cleared up, Nadia was back in her human form again laying on the ground, "I can't fight anymore, you win Dark Angels, I surrender." she says out loud for many people to hear.

It was silent for a few seconds but then the whole arena had gone on to cheer for the victors of the match. Especially from the other three sword hero companions above.

Ren along with Scarlet back in her human form and Raphtalia were also happy over their big victory as the girls cheer with each other.

Though it wasn't all happy with the underground arena, particularly Sadeena's sponsor a large bald man in a business suit was not remotely happy with the results and knew something needed to be done to not lose money on this.

Sadeena herself while down looked upset after briefly seeing the sponsor leave from his chair in his pent box on the bottom floor of the arena to talk with some people. Now the fate of the people she wanted to protect will be unknown now. She can only hope to get a word with Raphtalia and her cardinal hero friend about this whole thing.

After a few more seconds of cheering the announcer finally shouts from his post, "And the winners of the championship are none other than, THE DARK ANG-Huh!" but the man cut himself off after being handed a note that he quickly read.

The announcer knew he wouldn't like to say it, but was forced to read from the note, "Uh, sorry folks. It looks like the sponsors of this event have declared this match to be invalid!"

"What!? Is he being serious!?" Ren expressed from below not liking where this was going.

"Instead there will be an exhibition match between all the fighters that participated against a new fighter who has yet to have made an appearance tonight. Betting for this match will begin right away, refunds will be provided for the match before or can be transferred to your favored opponent of this next match. Better get your bets settled before you miss the fight of your lifetime" the announcer continued.

"Oh my." Sadeena says out loud after getting herself up.

"How can they just do that!?" Ren shouted clearly seeing how unfair this was with an audience arguing with him.

Sadeena then spoke out on that, "Remember this arena is an underground one. The rules can be bent to whoever is paying the most." Ren understood her point but he still didn't like this especially after he put so much money on this whole thing.

The announcer then started shouting again, "So now the Dark Angels and Nadia join forces in order to wage a war against..." and from the other side of the arena a large wood gate began to move up, "The Murder Clown!" and out from the opening gate emerged what looked to be a female jester dawning a mask and jester clothing that was purple and white all over and behind herself were 2 wooden mannequins that were levitating behind her as she emerged onto the arena with them.

"A clown? Really?" Ren expressed, he wasn't impressed but after spending enough of his time in this world he knows not to judge on appearance alone.

"Careful hero, she's a lot more powerful than she looks." Sadeena says back as she grips her harpoon and points it at their opponent with Ren and his team following suit.

Once Murder Clown made it to the center ring the announcer shouted, "Ladies and gentlemen, fighters nooowww... Begin!" he shouted with the crowd cheering for a good and entertaining fight.

"Thunderbolt slash!" Ren shouted and tested the waters by firing a single distant attack on his opponent.

But Murder Clown simply deflects the attack away with her blade back at them forcing the group to jump out of the way of the attack.

Scarlet and Raphtalia then attacked at the same time in the opposite directions with Ren attacking directly at the center.

Murder Clown uses her mannequins to fight against the sword fighters. Despite them being supposedly made out of wood both Scarlet and Raphtalia were having issues with these things as they kept blocking the attacks that were doing no damage to them and getting in the way of their master.

But with the mannequins distracted Ren directly engaged the clown, the two started their duel striking and blocking each other with power and grace. However, as they fight he notices how weird the design of her blade is, namely with the handle looking almost like a giant pair of scissors.

Sadeena also finally got into the mix as she fires her own electric attacks that get deflected away and fights Murder Clown directly with the cardinal hero.

Despite being 2 on 1 Murder Clown was still able to keep up with the two. She then opened her arm out and shouted, "Spidernet!" and from her palm emerged thin spiderwebs that quickly wrapped Ren's and Sadeena's weapons together.

"Bindwire" Murder Clown then said and from her two mannequin mouths emerged more spider silk but the silk was larger and of the sticky variety that trap both Raphtalia and Scarlet in it.

Both Ren and Sadeena and then Raphtalia and Scarlet struggle to get out of the silk but it is stronger than it looks and they didn't have the strength to break it.

It seemed like Murder Clown was about to win with all of her opponents trapped, but then Scarlet transformed back into her bird form breaking apart the sticky silk.

"Scar!" Ren shouted and with swift action, the Filolial princess used her wind magic to make two air cuts with her wings, one with Ren and Sadeena's weapon and the other with Raphtalia's. Now freed they engage their opponent again.

Murder Clown once more used her mannequins and weird sword to block and dodge all four opponents' attacks. She even tried to fire her spider silk again, but the heroes now seeing it coming managed to dodge or cut it easily.

Ren continues engaging his opponent trying to get her to stagger so Scarlet can just kick her in the stomach or back, but it seemed like Murder Clown had an extra set of eyes being able to see Ren's attacks even when he is using all the sword skills he knows.

To Ren's surprise, Sadeena jumped out of the fight and started chanting a spell, at first it seemed like Sadeena was going to fire another attack at Murder Clown, but then after hearing her words carefully, he knew what she was going to do.

"Rachal, Scar! Keep her pinned down! Zweite Aura!" he ordered with there fake names and then shouted a spell at Raphtalia with the two quickly following his orders. A boosted Raphtalia fights the two mannequins by herself while Scarlet tries kicking Murder Clown as she blocks the bird's attacks.

Sadeena then finishes her spell and fires her "attack" toward Ren.

Despite Murder Clown's attempt to stop the hero with more Spiderweb nets, Scarlet kept on cutting them all before they could reach her master.

Ren's sword then absorbed the "attack", but it did no damage it actually boosted his attack and other stats tenfold. Ren knew he could make it greater with another spell, "Flaming blade!" Ren shouted and with the combined electricity and fire spells together he was stronger than ever.

The energized Sword hero rushes toward Raphtalia and with his energized fire blade it cuts one Mannequin like butter, allowing a powered-up Raphtalia to cut down the other without issue.

Energized Ren engages Murder Clown directly like before as the two dueled but with Ren's temporary increased stats it was nearly impossible to block all of them. Then Raphtalia, Scarlet, and Sadeena all attack as well overwhelming the Clown.

Ren then finally gets his opening and strikes Murder Clown in the stomach. After another slash on the side from Raphtalia and a good kick on the other side by Scarlet, Ren rapidly sliced at Murder Clown over and over until he finally threw one last strike that knocked Murder Clown away to the side until she smashed into the stone wall.

After that last slash Ren's stats went down back to normal with the combo boost spell wearing off.

The crowd was silent once more wondering if Murder Clown had lost this time as her body wasn't moving.

Ren nods toward Raphtalia to check her body out, he hopes he didn't accidentally kill his opponent.

Raphtalia ran to the body and attempted to get a good look at Murder Clown. But once she turned her head toward her, to the Raccoon warrior's surprise the body was just another wooden mannequin.

It surprised her along with everyone else in the arena wondering what this was about.

"Escape doll." said a voice that surprised everyone as they looked to find its source. It seemed like it came from nothing, however strands of spider silk then swirled around into a big human-sized cocoon, and as the cocoon dissolved away, it revealed Murder Clown again standing tall as if nothing happened.

Ren and the others stood there grounds with their weapons out ready to continue the battle.

However, no battle continued, Murder Clown just spoke to them, "You applied multiple buffs and a combo spell on yourselves to w#in rig#ht?" she asked.

Ren immediately thought something was off from her voice. Not to what she said but what it sounded like at the end of the sentence. It was hard to describe it himself, but it sounded as if this woman had an audio glitch in her voice.

She continued speaking, "You're only going to get yourself ki#lled. Your based strength is far too low."

"What are you talking about? Who are you?" Ren demanded now finding this whole thing a strange turn of events.

"Unless you are a hero that no one can st#and u#p against. The other worlds or different forces will surely destroy. Especially if you are having trouble with me." she responds which just confused Ren even more.

"Wait other worlds? Who are you?" Ren asked again

"I fought enough to earn my pay, therefore there's no reason to cont#inue th#is f#ight. Let us meet again. Try not to get your#self ki#lled." she finished and without another second to respond Murder Clown dissolved away into smoke vanishing from the scene.

"What in the hell was that about?" Ren expressed still trying to wrap his head around this whole thing. By the sound of it, she implied to have known his true identity but what was she talking about other worlds? This was not something he expected to happen tonight.

It also baffled the entire audience as well, including the announcer, "Uh.. It appears Murder Clown has disappeared." he said with everyone there gossiping about what happened. After a few more seconds the Announcer spoke up again, "Well then since Murder Clown is nowhere in sight and can't be found this is counted as a forfeit from the match. This means the winners of the championship are the Dark Angels and Nadia-"

"Give me a break!" shouted a voice interrupting the announcer now getting the arena's attention, this man was Sadeena's sponsor who was not ready to lose a good amount of money tonight, "This doesn't count! How could it when there is foul play at hand." he continued doing all he can to manipulate the crowds and other sponsors.

"The Dark Angels bet on themselves under fake names to win more money. They should be disqualified for cheating! And so I ask you to declare this match as invalid!" he yelled toward the announcer who didn't know what to say at this point.

Ren of course wasn't going to take it, "And what proof do you have of me cheating? Seems pretty sketchy to me to be accusing someone with no evidence of any kind." he argues back with many in the audience agreeing with him thinking something was wrong with this accusation.

The sponsor of course wasn't going to stop now, "We have many tickets with the same names constantly betting high on you. It's plainly obvious!" he argued back.

"And how can you prove it was even me? Many people bet on a fighter that constantly wins like the Knights of Pain until my fight with them. Would you accuse everyone who betted on me and them for doing the same? Just so you can keep everyone's betting money for yourself?" Ren continued to argue, the audience was all now looking madly back at the sponsor, especially those that put big money on the Angels in the first place.

"I.. I.. Don't listen to that cheater! He's trying to scam all of you!" the sponsor yelled now desperate to have the people on his side, but this time no one believed him.

To Ren's surprise from the stands Beloukas's uncle who had been watching (and betting on) the sword hero's exploits in the arena since he came to his tavern spoke up in their defense, "Indeed the Angels won fair and square and are entitled to their prize money and everyone else who made a bet on them. To me it sounds like you're the sore loser trying to manipulate things in your favor to steal everyone else's betting money as the Angel just said."

After that the crowds started yelling at the sponsor, he now has lost control over the audience as everyone including the other sponsors now favored the Angel's side.

Sadeena's Sponsor wasn't going to let this go as he loses the last of his nerves, "You damn brats shut your mouths or I'll-"

But then he was interrupted with an arm grasping his shoulder. It looked to be a well off mid age noblewoman with a dress and a large white hat who stopped the man, she then got close to his ear, "Calm yourself, don't try to start a riot when we have that big meeting with Father Marc and Duke Varden tonight at 12 o clock. Just shut up now and we'll make back your money tenfold." she whispers into the sponsor's ear as she then walked away.

No one else heard what they just said to each other. All but one individual, Farrie herself who listened in from her advanced hearing power even a little ways up the stands.

Sadeena's sponsor clenches his hands extremely hard in anger, he did not want to lose this much money, but in his head he knew the meeting was more important and finally conceded, "Fine then! I'll retract my protest! Idiots!" he shouted as he turned and walked away.

It was a surprise to everyone he would just give up like that, but at this point the whole arena including the announcer was happy for it to be over, "Alright then, since there is no more protest on the results, the winners of the championship are Nadia and the Dark Angels!" he shouted with the entire audience cheering for the Angels, especially from the rest of the Sword hero team.

Raphtalia and Scarlet both cheered with each other again enjoying their win, Raphtalia then turned to see Sadeena on the side who was smiling at their collective victory.

Raphtalia immediately ran up to Sadeena and the two embraced each other with a hug, "It really is you Sadeena. It's so good to see you again, I'm so happy." Raphtalia says trying her best to hold back her tears of joy.

"The same here Raphtalia, you've grown so much since I last saw you." Sadeena says back with the two eventually ending their hug. Sadeena then turned to the Sword hero to say, "Let's meet down in the waiting room, I'm sure we have much to talk about with each other.

Ren nodded in agreement, he knew he would have a lot to ask about this woman he just met tonight who turned out to be more than a random drunk.

Once out of the spotlight and getting all of their huge prize as well as betting reward money the Sword Hero group was together with Sadeena once again, but this time in an isolated waiting room. The other half with Kiel, Eclair, and Rishia made it down as well.

Raphtalia once more along with Kiel together hugged their old friend, "It's great to see you again Sadeena." Kiel says to her.

"It's good to see you again as well Kiel. When I heard about some Lurolona village Demi-humans helping out the cardinal heroes I didn't think it would be you two." Sadeena says after finishing her hug.

Kiel then said, "Not just us, Rifana is also a teammate of the shield Hero now."

Sadeena looked genuinely surprised about that, "Oh really little Rifana as well? My my you three really have gone up in the world. Did you guys actually go up against the spirit Tortoise?"

"Oh yeah, it was so cool but also scary at the same time. But Master Bakugou and Master Ren both helped take that thing down with all of us helping out!" Kiel responds excitedly.

Raphtalia then asked Sadeena something she had been wondering since finding out about her, "But Sadeena, what are you doing here fighting in the underground arenas?"

Sadeena looks down on herself looking sad and guilted, "I came here to help rescue the Lurolona village survivors that got sold off to here. My asshole sponsor had bought them all and to be able to get them back I had to force myself to be his champion and fight in the arena."

Rishia immediately spoke up on the implication of that, "You mean after master Ren beat you-"

"My chances of getting them back have dipped significantly. That was why I fought as hard as I could back there and tried to sabotage you earlier with the rucolu fruit." Sadeena confesses.

Ren now felt guilt about the idea that he may have ruined the chance of freeing Raphtalia's and Kiel's people by his involvement, "I'm sorry Sadeena, look I'll do what I can to buy them back I just need to-"

Sadeena just smiled and laughed back at the young hero "Oh don't worry about that, I was the dummy who couldn't see that a cardinal hero was right in front of my face. Not like I'm going to give up yet, my sponsor might be ruthless but I dealt with worse. But anyway, I like to ask why exactly are you even fighting in the hidden arena in the first place? Aren't you already making big money and cheers for yourself up in the coliseum?" she asked him.

Ren let out a light sigh knowing what he had to say, "The guy you've been seeing or hearing about in the coliseum is not me. My team and I only got here for the first time just four days ago."

Sadeena raised her eyebrow to that, finding it interesting, "Oh so you got yourself some con artist pretending to be you? Why haven't you confronted this scammer directly?"

Eclair answered for him, "Because we think there are other people at play with this con man, we know this Sword and Shield church is involved and want to uncover proof and find out who the mastermind is before they hide themselves away."

Sadeena nods to that, "I see, and you figured fighting in the arena might help you find these people?"

Ren reluctantly nods to that, "Yeah, though I hate to admit it we really didn't get much of any information even while our spy tries to find a lead. I may have gotten a lot of money out of this but I feel we just wasted our time over this whole thing." he expressed with annoyance in his tone.

"Actually it was worth it." said a voice and when everyone turned they saw it was Farrie herself finally making it to the meeting place and next to her was the fighter Fohl who looked surprised as he stared at Ren.

Everyone else was surprised to see her with the fighter, "Farrie why is he here?" Eclair asked with curiosity.

Farrie immediately answered her, "He's our lead on the imposter, or at least on what he is planning tonight."

"Planning tonight?" Ren said to himself wondering what that entails.

Fohl though got up closer at the hero, both at his face and his sword, "Whoa, so you're really are the real Cardinal Sword Hero, I didn't think I meet you face to face." he said with wonder in his tone, for him a mere slave being with what many people saw as a god.

Ren then looks back at Farrie, "So what's this about a plan for tonight?"

Farrie points to Fohl, "He can explain it."

Fohl finally snapping out of his wonder of this whole situation and looked back up at the hero, "Uh, yes. Well before I say anything I like you to promise something first."

"Ok, promise what?" Ren asked wondering where this was going.

"Promise to help my sick sister. Her name is Atla and I'm risking a lot by telling you this stuff so I hope you understand me wanting to ensure she will be taken care of." Fohl requested with a straight face.

While Ren might not know the full details about his sick Sister, the sword hero doesn't see an issue with helping a poor sick kid and nods his head, "Of course, I'm no doctor but I will do what I can to help her. That's a promise made by the sword hero." he agreed to the demi-human.

Fohl nodded back and bowed to the hero, "Thank you very much Sir Ren. Alright, now I'll tell you what I've been told. The sword hero.. Or well the guy pretending to be you is planning a big slave revolt tonight. It involves getting rid of the city guard and then taking over the capital starting with the Coliseum first. That is as far as I know about the whole thing. But like I said it is all happening later tonight in a few hours."

This information intrigued the crew especially Eclair, "This is good to know, but why would this imposter try to enact such a violent action while pretending to be you?" she asked Ren.

"Hard to say, maybe it could be something the church or his benefactors are planning, but unfortunately we don't have a lead on that either." Ren says with annoyance in his tone even with all of this news.

Farrie though smiled and spoke up, "Actually we might have a lead on that as well."

The group now looked surprised again, "Really? With whom?" Raphtalia asked with the others wondering as well.

Farrie nods and smiles, "You remember that large asshole sponsor earlier trying to say your match should be disqualified? Well the reason he stopped protesting was because that rich woman there told him to knock it off to not miss his opportunity to go to some big meeting tonight. A meeting that also involves the new church's head and a man named Duke Varden."

Sadeena nods to that, "My sponsor? Yeah, he does have good money and influence on him, both underground and up the surface. To be involved with the new state church head and other rich pricks would be up his alley."

Ren nods to that and looks back at Farrie, "So when is this meeting?" he asked

"Midnight," she responds.

"That's little under an hour and a half away." Rishia states after looking at a clock in the room.

Eclair though still found this whole chain of information strange, "I still don't know what they exactly benefit from causing a mass slave revolt. What if these things are unrelated to each other."

Farrie shrugs to that, "Well the only way to find out is to see what this meeting of there's is about."

Ren nods to that agreeing with her, "Indeed, I can tell something big is happening tonight. We all need to work together on this to protect as many lives as possible and stop who is involved in all of this. Guys would you mind gathering around." he said then ordered his group along with Fohl and Sadeena gathering around the hero, "Now let's make up our plan.".

After an hour passes, within the VIP rooms of the underground arena, Sadeena's sponsor emerges from the area along with the Noblewoman who talked him down earlier. The sponsor still had a mad look on his face in an awful mood from what happened earlier tonight as the two head their way to the meeting.

Around a corner, Ren and Raphtalia watch spying on the two back to wearing their cloaks and masks.

Ren then turns to Raphtalia, "Ok, do it now."

Raphtalia nods, and through her magic she turns herself and Ren invisible with her light magic.

With Ren and Raphtalia no longer being able to be seen they followed the sponsor and noblewoman, remaining as quiet as possible.

They left the arena's area but continued to remain underground as the two walked through the large tunnel system.

Eventually, Sadeena's sponsor and the noblewoman were now by a thick door with random numbers on it.

"This crap better be worth it." Sadeena's sponsor said in annoyance as the noblewoman knocked on the thick door in a specific way.

A slide from near the top of the door opens up for a pair of eyes to see who knocked on it.

Once the doorman recognized the two he opened the door, "Right this way." said the doorman who had a slavecrest on his chest.

The two went inside through the door with the doorman shutting it.

He took his eyes off it for a few seconds only to hear the same knock again.

But as he looked through the slide again he saw no one there. Confused he opened the door and looked around the tunnel to see if he could find anyone, but he didn't. He shrugged and just closed it back up.

Unknown to him, two uninvited guests sneaked on through while he had the door open.

The Sponsor and noblewoman then proceeded into the large room which had a big rectangle table in its center where they proceeded to sit down.

At the table were 20 other individuals, powerful nobles, rich merchants, and leaders of very large and influential mercenary companies. Most were human though a couple namely some of the merc leaders were demi-humans. All were here for the same thing.

One of the merc captains looks and notices the pissed-off sponsor, "Had a rough day?" he asked.

"Lost good money to some stupid freelancers winning against that drunk dolphin bitch I wasted money on!" he rants still pissed off.

The merc leader just laughs, "Oh don't worry about such things, if what Varden has planned is true we'll have more than enough money to know what to do with it."

The sponsor crossed his arms still annoyed, "It better be something good after I dragged myself out here." he says out loud.

A few more minutes passed by with the various powerful figures continuing to talk with one another about what this meeting was for to begin with. All the while at a corner two invisible individuals watch on listening to everything.

"Ah! Perfect! All of you are here now!" shouted a voice getting the attention of the room toward a corner by a different door. It was Duke Varden himself, along with Father Marc and their slave fake Sword Hero.

While the 3 walk to the end table, The invisible Sword Hero now has a good look at his impersonator. It was uncanny to him how much the faker looked like himself more than from a crystal ball. One thing he did notice that was off by his fake was the looks in his eyes, it was the eyes of someone thirsting for blood and violence, all with a sinister smile on his face.

Eventually the 3 made it to the table, "Glad to see all of you here. My friends, as well as some of the most powerful individuals of all of Zeltoble. I'm glad all of you have accepted my invitation. Like to also once again thank some of you for helping fake evidence to get rid of our enemies as well." he says to the individuals even if it is very condescending.

"How about you get to the point and end the flattery Varden." a noble said with a few others nodding in agreement.

Varden smiles to that, "Of course, let's get to business then. I think all of you are aware of our little fake Sword Hero. We would've never gotten as far as we did without me picking the right slave for the job and setting up that assassination attempt on Andraw to make him so paranoid now. It made our king lay on the palm of our hands as well as the people who will no doubt follow those with the backing of a god. And we'll soon be done with all those that will oppose us soon, after some bribing I've already broke them out of there jail cells and had them transfer to a special location where they'll be killed all at once in a very fun and bloody way. We only have one more obstacle in our path. The Councilor himself."

"And let me guess you want us to help fake more evidence to frame him?" another noble guessed.

Varden shook his head in disagreement, "No, senile as he is getting now, the King puts too much trust in his son. And Frandon is smarter than he looks, he'll use whatever legal trick in the book to fight back and demoralize our coalition and the Sword if it drags out. But no need to worry I have a plan." he then showed off a crystal ball that showed an image that looked to be Frandon himself.

"The Councilor? How did you get a recording of him?" another noble asked with some of the others wondering as well.

Varden just laughed, "Ha, this is actually not the Councilor. It's one of my new slaves. Just like I did with the fake Sword Hero, I simply bought a slave that resembled him greatly, and after some surgery and magic later, we have the perfect lookalike." after he puts away the ball the individuals on the table are now more interested than before.

Vardan spoke up again, "In just a little over an hour from now, we'll enact the next step of the plan. The king and the Councilor are currently at the coliseum above watching a big event, we'll capture the real Councilor and then have him and those "traitors" be killed off far from anyone's notice with zero evidence of their deaths. My fake Councilor will attempt to kill the king, he'll come close until our Sword Hero saves the day by slicing him into two. No one will suspect us of foul play and the councilor position will be open, and with the support and pressure of our god, church, and all of you, I will be his prime choice and will pick me for the position. His majesty of course will be pretty depressed about the death and the betrayal of his "son", so I don't think no one will be surprised if he were to die "in his sleep". And with the King dead, I'll become the kingdom's official regent, and with a quick election by the Merchant Council now in our control from our coalition, I'll be elected as the new king and we'll be the ones in charge of everything now! All the peasants, all the money, all the armies, will be ours to do whatever we want and no one will stop us!"

And from the explanation of the plan, the table cheers to it, the plan seemed so simple but straightforward to all of them. And if it works right Zeltoble will be all there's, even Sadeena's sponsor had cheered up now.

One of the Merchant leaders then raised his hand, "Not that I'm opposing the plan Varden, but what exactly are we going to do if the real Sword Hero finds out about this and comes to Zeltoble?" he asked with some of the others wondering the same thing.

Varden shakes his head to that, "No need to worry about such a thing, I can just force my slave to commit suicide and just be in complete denial on the whole thing. By that point though we'll already be in charge and the real cardinal Hero won't be able to do anything about it without causing a diplomatic incident." he responds with the Merchant leader who asked the question who nodded back in approval of the answer, liking that issue has been cleared up.

The imposter though silently groans in annoyance, that Varden would just kill him after all he did for the bastard. Course he secretly knew that there would be a bit of a hiccup in his plan as he let out a small smirk.

The invisible watchers of course heard the whole thing, now they all know who is involved in the conspiracy and what their endgame was. However, there were still some questions unanswered, namely where these "traitors" were at and it didn't seem like Varden was going to say it, or what a slave revolt has to do with this. Ren whispered something in Raphtalia's ear on what they needed to do next which the Raccoon woman didn't like.

Varden then took some wine and passed it around his allies as they poured in a drink. Once it seemed everyone had wine Varden raised his glass, "A toast for our soon to be victory tonight! And the nation we shall rule over soon!" he said, and with a quick cheer and a raise of there glasses as well, the corrupt nobles, merchants, and Merc leaders all took a sip of there drink.

"ah… ah… Achoo!" sneezed a random voice and from the side it revealed Raphtalia and Ren, breaking their illusion magic.

Varden immediately spits out his drink in surprise, "What the hell! Spies!?" he shouts mad to see someone trying to ruin his perfect plan.

Sadeena's sponsor though immediately recognized the two, "It's the damn Dark Angel's!"

Ren and Raphtalia immediately ran for the door, the bodyguard attempted to smash one of them in the head with his mace, but Ren quickly blocked it and a second after Raphtalia kicked him in the stomach knocking him out, allowing the two to continue to run for the door.

Varden of course was not going to let them escape and turned to his slave, "Don't stand there! Stop them!"

"No need to say more!" Ricker gleefully responds as his sword glows red with mana.

"No not in the-" but before Father Marc could stop him, Ricker fired his powerful attack from the sword, with Ren and Raphtalia barely ducking in time.


The attack blows up the area of the door leaving a large hole at the wall with debris and dust spewing all over the place.

And with the dust settled Ren and Raphtalia make a run for it.

And while coughing at the dust Varden yells at his slave, "Don't do things like that you idiot! You're going to alert the guard up in the surface!" he scolds Ricker as his slave crests also went off to punish the slave.

Despite the pain, Ricker's anger was far greater as he growled at his master.

Varden then points toward the hole that just got made, "Now stop standing there and capture those spies!"

Ricker growls in annoyance but still does what he was told to and with his speed, he sprints his way out through the hole to hunt down the spies.

Ren and Raphtalia continued to run hoping to be long out of sight soon enough. But they were stopped in their tracks as the front of their path was covered with fire. The two turned to see Ren's imposter sadistically smiling at them, "Going somewhere snitches?" he mocked them while swinging his now flaming sword.

And without a second to think, the imposter rushes right toward Ren with the real sword hero barely blocking the attack as the two swordsmen were now dueling one another blocking and striking all they could. Raphtalia attempts to help, but a single powerful fireball is enough to blast her into a wall instantly taking her out.

"Not so tough now without your whore!" The imposter mocks him again, as Ren struggles to hold him off to aid Raphtalia but his doubleganger is somehow stronger. After a great push with his weapon, Ricker rapidly swings his sword over and over until.


Ren's sword broke into 2. The hero looked horrified as Ricker evilly smiled, "Pathetic." he then blasts Ren into a wall next to Raphtalia who attempts to help her hero. But once she got up to Ren his faker approached the two as he raises his sword up, "It was a fun tease kicking both of your asses, but now I get to spill your guts out and laugh at your-OOW!" but he was stopped by his slave crest zapping him.

Behind him was Duke Varden and Sadeena's sponsor, "Don't kill those two you animal."

"Oh for fuck sake, why do you care about them now!?" Ricker yelled at his master.

Varden smiles and points to the sponsor, "He's promising his full support and resources to my ascension to the throne if the angels get the same painful treatment as the Councilor and friends so keep them alive for now."

The sponsor smiles to this, "You cost me a lot tonight you brats! But your suffering will be worth every penny!" he mocks the two now smoking what looked to be a large cigar.

Ricker turns annoyed as he walks up to the down hero, "You're lucky for now. But that goat fucker won't be telling me what to do for long! Soon I'll be the king!" he says to himself until he kicks Ren in the head presumably knocking him out while doing the same with Raphtalia. They were ready to be sent off to be disposed of where the rest of Vardens forces trash would be also disposed of.

Little did any of them know, Ren had his real invisible sword on his crystal ball form the whole time with the sword that broke being an illusion, and while no one was looking he winks at Raphtalia with the Raccoon girl winking back to there little act.

In another part of the underground tunnels, there was a large gathering of criminal fighter slaves of various types ready for the big event tonight all eager to start the best night of their lives.

This includes Hale the Wolfman making sure his claws and teeth were as Sharp as his big sword. But then he heard a door open and as he turned he was surprised to see Fohl again who was with two random individuals, one was another demi-human and the other was a normal human hiding under cloaks and masks.

Hale smiles at Fohl, "Well Well Well, look who chose to finally show up? Finally decided to be a man and make history today?" he says to the white tiger kid.

Fohl nods back in agreement, "Yes, this is for Atla. If you don't mind I brought over two friends who want in as well." he says to the wolfman.

Hale nods back, "The more the merrier, very well then how about we go into detail on what we are planning to do once we're given the signal, so be ready when it's all set up."

Fohl and his two friends nod in agreement, but unknown to the Wolfman the human woman is carrying a secret Crystal ball on themselves that is recording the whole thing for their friends and leader. Ready to learn of the fake sword hero's and the criminal slave's big plan as Hale tells them most of the details.

Up on the surface of the Coliseum, a big tournament was just about over with the final duel just beginning. Up in the elite pent boxes the royal family was watching on, King Andraw and beside him was the Councilor along with Linda and Ben both of whom were peacefully sleeping now, despite it being extremely late Andraw wanted his family to be together to show the kingdom there was nothing to worry about from the many arrests lately. Having numerous bodyguards around made it more comfortable as well.

Beforehand Frandon continued to argue with his father on the arrests getting more and more suspicious of the "sword hero" and his church, even though he couldn't find any real evidence the councilor knew something was up with them along with Duke Varden.

But despite his arguments Andraw continued to stick to his gut feelings and trust the cardinal hero's word and hope these purges will end soon and go back to normalizing life as it was before the assassination attempt and even before the waves started to pop up.

Frandon wanted to keep arguing, but at this time he didn't want his yelling to wake up his wife and son, so he just watch the tournament together with his father, which weirdly had the Sword hero absent tonight.

Then they both heard a door open up to see a servant coming in, "Excuse me, but the councilor is needed downstairs, it concerns the sword hero." he said to Frandon who was wondering what such a thing would be about and it only involving him and not the King.

Andraw nods and turns back to witness the Tournament finishing up, he was getting tired himself and wasn't in the mood for more politics so he was glad to not be involved in such a thing.

Frandon took his leave to follow the servant with 4 bodyguards following him.

The servant took them out of the pent box down the stairs to an isolated area with no one around. The Councilor was already suspicious and had his bodyguards be on the lookout until they were where they needed to be, "So then, what is this about the sword hero?" he asked the servant.

But without a word 2 of Frandon's bodyguards got instantly killed by a fire attack.

They turned to the source and saw the "Sword hero" himself coming right from a dark corner, "That I'm here to escort you out Councilor." Ricker mocks Frandon.

One bodyguard attempts to stop the fake hero while the other attempts to escort Frandon away from danger.

But Ricker kills the first bodyguard with ease slicing him into 2, and the second one he killed after sprinting himself with his speed boosts and stabs the guard through the chest.

Frandon was knocked over and attempted to get himself up and leave, but Ricker just knocked him on the ground again, "Going somewhere Councilor? The fun has just begun." he mocks Frandon who looked horrified to see a supposed cardinal hero looking at him with blood lust with his sword up ready to be stabbed over and over, "AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!" but before he could the fake sword hero got electrocuted with the slave crest again.

Out from another corner was Varden along with to the Councilor's confusion a man who looked exactly like him even with the same clothes, "I thought I told you to capture the councilor alive idiot!?" Varden insults the imposter hero.

"You're going to kill him anyways?! What's the point!?" Ricker complains back being once again restricted from craving his blood.

"I want no body of his left as evidence, so just knock him out and we can finally get this night over with!" Varden orders Ricker again who is forced to comply.

"Fine!" Ricker yells as he looks back at the down Councilor, "I can't wait for this night to be over as well!" he quietly says and kicks Frandon in the face.

Frandon wakes up after some time, but as he opens his eyes he not only sees he is tied up in magic-dampening rope in what looks to be underground in the sewers, clearly no longer in the Coliseum. But he was surrounded by at least over 30 other individuals in the same state of being tied up.

Frandon quickly recognized them, they were all the people his father had been arresting as of late, including the former head of the shadows and the former head of the 4 Heroes church in Zeltoble, along with 2 masked figures he didn't recognize in the same predicament, "Father Colin is that you?! Where are we at?!" he asked of the churchman while struggling to get out of the rope.

"I don't know, we were all in the dungeons then suddenly we were knocked out and all ended up here as we woke up and spent a few hours in here." Father Colin said as he like the others tried to break out of their ropes.

The Councilor tried to look around to see where they could be, and it seemed to be an old sewer area with several large rusted pipe openings surrounding the area, no longer in use to expel waste water.

"Well well, look who has finally awakened." said a voice from above getting the tied-up captives' attention. It was Duke Varden himself with Father Marc and the "sword hero" beside him, "I just wanted to say my final goodbyes to all of you before you get ripped to shreds." he continued while evilly smiling.

"Varden! You and your associates will answer for this!" Frandon yells at the duke.

But Varden didn't take him seriously, "Haha, no I think I'm done answering to other idiots. Soon the kingdom will be obeying my command and my newfound order. And if any issues arise from it I can just use you escapees as scapegoats who sabotage our kingdom from the shadows."

"And you think no one will be questioning about us being missing!?" Frandon argued back hoping he could finally break the rope but had no luck.

"One can't wonder what happened to escaped criminals if there are no bodies to be found after "escaping", how is one to know if a couple of clean chewed up bones in the old sewers are of them or other poor sobs that suffered the same fate? No one will know you are really dead since the one good thing about giant rats is that they eat everything down to the bone leaving nothing left." Varden mocks basically revealing what he plans to do with them as he snaps his fingers.

Then multiple servants up in the ledges begin dumping old bloody meat around the area, no doubt to attract certain creatures to the captives.

Frandon continues to struggle to break free, "They'll know about my disappearance! You can't just hide this from my father!"

Varden laughed again, "Haha, oh that won't be an issue, people won't care about the Councilor when he attempts to take his majesty's life, who is foiled by the sword hero."

Frandon didn't know what he was talking about but he knew it was bad as he continued to struggle more and more to break the ropes, but it continued to be of no use.

Varden then finished his talks with the Councilor, "Now as much as I would love to see you and the others get ripped to pieces as mutant rat food, I unfortunately have a schedule to maintain and need to get back on it. But I'll leave my servants here to keep you company, they'll also be making sure you don't try to leave the room. So goodbye now, and have fun with the rats. Haha " Varden finished with him, Marc, and "Ren" laughing with him as they headed their way back to complete their plans.

Once they were gone the tied-up captives noticed several magic barriers forming from above, so even if they got out of the ropes there was no way for them to get out of the room.

They then started to hear some banging sounds from the pipes, whatever was in them were large and very hungry.

"Everyone! Gather together in the middle!" The masked figure shouted.

Frandon and the others don't know who this man is, but they aren't going to question him as everyone in the room but the mask figures, one a human man and the other a demi-human girl.

But once they were all gathered together, from the pipes emerged giant mutant rats, the size of large dogs with long front teeth and scratch scars across their faces and bodies. They smelt the old meat and saw the fresh meat in front of them wrapped in rope.

Some went for the old meat, the rest of the giant rats immediately went after the helpless captives.

Until the masked figure who is actually Ren himself finally breaks free from his rope, using his sword ability to increase his base strength tenfold and then quickly also cut loose Raphtalia's rope who then grabs her sword with their weapons no longer being hidden from her illusion magic.

Ren and Raphtalia quickly attack the giant rats, stabbing or cutting them up before they can get close to the helpless captives. None of them knew who this man was but weren't going to interrupt his concentration as he killed off the massive rodents quickly.

More and more giant rats continued to emerge from the pipes still attracted by the smell of the old meat as now from the dead rats. Ren used this to his advantage by throwing corpses near the area below the pipes so the monsters would cannibalize their fellow dead rats' bodies, eating and ripping them apart. This though just made it easy to kill them while distracted, leaving more corpses for the other mutant rats to cannibalize.

It seemed this horde of rats was endless at first, but after a few minutes of killing the giant mutants it did seem like less and less were starting to emerge from the pipes to the relief of the Sword hero.

But then there was a new massive banging sound coming from the pipes, louder than the others before.

It was loud enough to get the cardinal hero's attention, and from the pipes now expanded out was a massive monster Rat Overlord. It was larger than any other rat, standing over 10 feet tall with a very muscular body especially on the forearms. This thing was just like the others, very very hungry for fresh meat. It quickly gobbled up the corpses of its brethren first then went to attack the helpless humans, only to be stopped by the sword hero being strong enough to block both muscled arms.

Ren was now forced to fight against the overlord rat doing all he could to avoid its diseased-ridden poison attacks as it damaged sponges Ren's attacks back.

Raphtalia at the same time was killing the minor rats that were still coming after the captives, resorting to using her illusion magic to make several copies of herself to get as much of the rats' attention as possible, even if these copies cant harm them they were enough to trick the rats to ignore the real human and demi-humans with the real Raphtalia rapidly killing them.

The Overlord continued to attack the sword hero wanting to kill and eat its meal already, but the cardinal hero was faster than a mutant overlord's reflexes could handle as it bashed all over the walls and floor of the area missing him, even killing some of the minor mutant rats while doing it.

"Hey ugly!" shouted Raphtalia getting to monster's attention, it seemed she was jumping herself in the air at the overlord. But the monster was ready for that attack and grabbed Raphtalia's body that was mid-air.

The Overlord rat then goes for the kill and bites her head off. Only for Raphtalia to dissolve away into light. This Raphtalia was just an illusion.

Thanks to the distraction, Ren got behind and stabbed his sword deep into the Overlord's spine, and as the monster screeched in pain the sword hero ran up the monster with his blade still deep within until he finally emerged from the top as he jumped and with a swift swipe back down he fully decapitated the Overlord, killing it instantly.

As the overlord falls dead the remaining rats immediately ignore anything else to eat up the massive corpse. This was perfect for Ren as he powered up his sword, "Flaming blade!" he shouted and threw a blade of fire at the huge pile of rats and corpses as they all screeched in agony.

Most of them died off, while the remaining stragglers retreated back up the pipes in fear of their superior predators.

And with that the mutant rats were gone, with all of the captives saved from being turned into mutant rodent food.

All the captives sighed in relief that they were saved as Ren and Raphtalia then went out to help free them from their ropes.

Once out of his Frandon was the first to speak to their saviors, "Thank you so much strangers, we're all in your debt. What may we call you?"

"The name's Ren Amaki. The cardinal sword hero." he finally says to him while taking off his mask.

The Councilor and many others there were surprised by this especially thinking the other man was him the whole time, but quickly got on what this was about, "I knew there was something off about that man the Sword and Shield church supported. Glad to know that was an imposter and the real cardinal sword wielder is a true hero who didn't work for scumbags." Frandon says to Ren with everyone else there nodding in agreement to him.

Once he and Raphtalia freed them all from the ropes, Ren looked up toward the ceiling, "Now we need to just get out of here and stop my double ganger for good."

"But how are we going to get out of here with the various barriers in place?" One of the nobles quickly asked with him and the others knowing Varden had servants set up barriers to prevent them from leaving here.

Ren smiled at that thought, "Oh that shouldn't take too long." he responded and as if on cue everyone started hearing some fighting and screaming from above, along with loud banging from the large walls. With each magic barrier rapidly disappearing one by one.

Eventually, the screaming stopped as all the barriers disappeared with a big hole now being made from the walls, to all of the captive's surprise it was a large black feathered Filolial Queen emerging from the hole using her sense of smell and tracking to find her master in the long labyrinth of tunnels, "Master Ren, Raphtalia! Are you both ok?" she asked from her bird form which surprised everyone else there on the thing being able to talk.

Ren smiled at her though, "We're ok Scarlet. Now please help us get everyone out of here." he responded and ordered with the bird princess nodding and jumping down below.

Despite some of them being reluctant at first, all the captives got on the bird's back as she jumped up from the hole she emerged from and made multiple trips up and down to get everyone out of the hole with Ren and Raphtalia coming up last.

Father Colin approached the 3, "Thank you again my Saint, you saved all of our lives.".

Ren shakes his head in disagreement to that though, "It's not over yet. We need to stop my double-ganger and those who supported him."

Frandon immediately turns to the hallways looking scared now, "Linda, Benjamin, Father! We have to help them now!" he shouted knowing they would be next on Varden's and his corrupt friend's list.

Ren nods to that and turns to Scarlet, "Did you get that thing I told you to get?" he asked the bird.

Scarlet nods as she points to a large wagon that manages to fit in the wide tunnels, "Yep, it should fit everyone here."

"Then everyone get on quick!" he ordered with all the freed captives quickly getting on the wagon with Ren and Raphtalia directly getting on Scarlet's back.

Once she was hooked up to the wagon, Ren pointed down the hallway, "Toward the Coliseum Scarlet!" Ren ordered knowing that was where they needed to go.

"Yes Master Ren!" she responds and the bird princess runs with the wagon across the tunnels hoping that none of them are too late.

"Surround the Coliseum! All guards surround the area and don't let anyone out!" shouted several captains above the surface as hundreds of guards around the city were quickly mobilized when word got out of an attack on the royal family. Not many details are known yet, but this force of soldiers was to await orders and prevent anyone from leaving the parameters, while a small detachment was sent in to guard the massive structure. Most of the audience of the coliseum had already left for the night, but there were still some staff and freed non-slave fighters in the building, but none were permitted to leave until this situation was under control and the culprits had been caught.

They had been unable to get up to the higher levels though because of magic barriers, the best magic users of the guard were attempting to break them but it was taking time.

Unknown to them the King and his family were cornered in their pentbox, to what appeared to be the Councilor himself holding a bloody sword. The King and the councilor's wife and son were all backed into a corner in fear, with most of their bodyguards killed off, the King assumes it was his son who did this, unaware that another man impersonating a hero was behind the doors with bloodlust that was responsible for that.

King Andraw finally speaks up, "Frandon! What the hell has gotten into you?!"

The presumed councilor speaks up as he waves his sword, "I just want your crown, you would never get the idea to step down or die like the old dog you are. So I'm just fastening the process!" "Frandon" says, going by the script his master had given him to practice before.

"Frandon please stop this! Why do this in front of your own son?!" Linda scolds him not sure why her husband would do such a thing.

"Dad, please don't hurt Grandpa." the young boy begs his supposed father.

But the imposter Councilor just evilly smiles and approaches the fearful royals with his sword as the King moves in front of his pregnant daughter-in-law and Grandson to protect them from his now supposed deranged son as he runs toward the King.

But right before he could strike his majesty, out from the edge of the pent box podium the "Sword hero" emerged and stopped the "Councilor's" sword with his.

"Oh thank god the sword hero!" Andraw shouts glad to be saved by his "hero" again.

Without a word, the two slaves fight each other as they are choreographed to do, wanting to make it look as real as possible as the two swung and blocked each other.

But Ricker had other things in mind.

As planned the "Sword hero" overpowers and knocks away the fake Councilor's sword, the "Councilor" is told that he would be fake arrested and later Varden would free him.

But instead Ricker for real stabs him through his chest.


"Dad!" the wife and son of the real Councilor shouted with both still thinking the imposter was the real him.

"You… you idiot… you were supposed to pretend to arrest me.." the imposter quietly says to Ricker who just sadistically smiles.

"Plans change idiot." Ricker insults him as he raises his blade higher in his body quickly killing the unfortunate imposter.

Linda and Ben immediately ran up to the imposter as they thought the real him was dead, "You monster! You evil monster! You didn't even try to hold yourself back!" Linda yells as she cries at her supposed husband's corpse.

"Your welcome bitch." Ricker insults her not showing any empathy.

Ben didn't take that backhand comment well, "You're no hero! You're an evil man who doesn't deserve that sword!"

Ricker though didn't care and just pushed him out of the way, "Like you know anything brat!" he insults the kid as Ricker walks himself to the edge of the podium while the two continue to cry.

Andraw also looked disturbed by what happened both from the death of his son and the assassination attempt, but he continued to maintain a cool head, "Thank you for protecting us Sword hero, I apologize for what Linda and Ben said, I'll try to calm them down later." he says as the King approached his daughter-in-law and Grandson to help them with what happened.

And while he did that Ricker was overlooking the edge and saw what he wanted to see, it was Vicar who was within the stadium seats just awaiting his signal to begin the fun.

Then to the King's surprise, multiple figures came through the pent box doors and it was Duke Varden along with his large coalition group which included Father Marc were here to take full advantage of the situation as planned.

"Your Highness, me and others came by as soon as we heard what happened. Are you ok?" Varden asked pretending to be concerned.

"Duke Varden, I don't know what has happened to Frandon, he just went berserk and tried to kill me. How could this have happened?!" the King responds,

Varden was laughing in his head that the King was falling for his plan, he then shook his head, "It seems that we know now where this conspiracy came from in the first place."

"Conspiracy? Are you suggesting that my own son was working together with those other traitors this whole time?" The King wondered out loud.

"Not just work, he may have been their leader of it the whole time." Varden continues to lie continuing his manipulation of the king.

Linda could see through it though, she knew he and these other vultures were there just here to take advantage of their emotional states, but she felt too depressed to protest while her supposed husband lay dead.

However when Ben got a closer look at his "dad's" face, he noticed something off, "Mom, has dad always worn fake eyelashes?" Ben asked once he noticed one off feature.

Linda looked at the head again and she also saw what her son saw, fake eyelashes. The two continued to look and noticed other marks of what looked to be makeup covering surgery scars on the dead face.

Their sadness had disappeared and were both suspicious of this whole thing, as Linda looked at the man's hand and saw that none of his rings matched any ring she had seen him with before, not even his wedding ring.

With Varden's sudden convenient appearance, Linda and even Ben knew something was up around here, "Andraw, I don't think this is Frandon."

"Huh? What do you mean?" Andraw asked confused with Varden already looking irritated.

"There's makeup on this man's face and they don't even have the right rings on. There is something funny going on here." Linda responds already looking toward Varden.

The Duke attempted to save face, "My lord she's probably just traumatized and coping with her loss here. She and her son need to be taken to a hospital as soon as possible." Varden says wanting to just get rid of them.

"We need an investigation done first! There is something off about this whole thing, especially with you and your cronies just showing up like this." Linda responds with her son Ben also looking coldly at the group quickly connecting the dots himself.

Varden then started a big argument with her on what they should be doing, Varden didn't think the Councilor's wife would be much of an issue and had underestimated her. He now immediately regrets this action. Andraw was just confused by the situation, not wanting to argue with either supposed allies or his own daughter-in-law.

All the while Ricker just watched on enjoying the show while it went on.

He then noticed something he was waiting for, a symbol on the floor, Ricker covered it up with a corner of a rug. It was time for his move as he made his sword glow a red light across from the upper levels.

Vicar saw the signal and afterward she smiled and did her job to alert their men below.

Outside of the coliseum, the large legion of guards continues to surround the large structure awaiting their orders and making sure no one will be leaving. It seemed nothing was wrong at first.


*Boom* Boom* *Boom*

With the sounds of explosions heard from below their feet, all of a sudden the grounds under the guards had all collapsed with almost all of the capital's guard falling into the lower underground levels below.

Despite the falls all of them were still alive, but they were all trapped underground with multiple magic barriers suddenly appearing above and the sides preventing them from escaping.

And to all of their horrors, through water mages from above the underground areas begin to be filled up with water.

Within the Coliseum itself, multiple more explosions were made to many rooms inside the structure itself. And out from these explosions was now an army of gladiator slaves and criminals, freed from their crests, armored, and armed to the teeth. They began a rampage inside the coliseum, the guards and soldiers who were inside the coliseum tried to fight back, but they were outnumbered and had been all taken by surprise, those that tried to fight back were slaughtered, and many quickly surrendered themselves and were taken as captives as the criminal slave revolt quickly took control of the Coliseum.

Back in the pent box, almost everyone there was confused by what was happening. Even Varden was utterly baffled by this, "This… what the hell is going on here?! This wasn't part of the plan? What's happening?!" he said out loud not thinking about what he just said to his King.

"Plan? What are you talking about Varden?" Andraw asked confused, with Linda and Ben themselves already having an idea what this was about.

Varden couldn't think straight with his coalition cronies just in the dark as he was.

The only one there not looking confused was Ricker who was smugly smiling while standing next to that corner of the rug, "Yeah quite the change of events. It's as if someone planned a slave and prisoner revolt in advance just to usurp your plot huh? Quite the big brain move I say, hahahaha!" he bragged about it not even pretending to be subtle about it, just as he wants it.

Varden continued to be confused but he quickly added things together and was now furious, "You! Did you orchestrate this!?" he demanded while pointing his finger at his slave knowing he couldn't lie.

Ricker knew this full well and expected it as he just walks slowly backward, "Yeah, Yeah I did it you sack of shit. It was quite easy to just hijack your plot of making a fake Councilor to do a fake attempted assassination attempt on the old bastard to help you take over the kingdom." he smugly answers everything out loud.

"WHAT?!" King Andraw shouted in surprise to be hearing such a thing.

Varden was now angrier than before with his entire plot ruined as he stomps his way to a still smugly smiling Ricker while he continues to back away, "You damn idiot! As your master I order you to call off this rebellion then I-AAAAAHHHHHH!" he orders but then screams as he falls through the floor thanks to a trap rune that was under the corner of the rug.

Ricker smiles now that his own plan is going as well, the fake hero then goes into his coat pocket, "Now to just put these on." he says as he takes out what appear to be large black ear muffs and quickly puts them on. But these weren't normal ear muffs, they were magically sound-canceling muffs preventing any sound from being heard by its wearers. Ricker snaps his fingers in front of himself to make sure they are working properly and thankfully to him he can't hear any sound, "Perfect, can't hear a single thing." he says as he looks down from the hole Varden fell through.

Varden himself struggled to get himself back up, feeling sore from the fall but was otherwise fine. The Duke looks around confused as to what just happened or where he was even at.

Unfortunately for Varden that was quickly answered as he started to hear growling, he fearfully turned his head to see he was in a large cage, a cage with a massive manticore in it, a very hungry manticore as the black furred Lion-scorpion hybrid monster roars toward the helpless autocrat.

Varden panics and looks all over for a way out. But all the cage doors were locked and the hole he fell through was way too high to jump through, and could only look up as his slave smiled evilly for his entertainment.

"Help me! Help me! I order you to help me kill this monster! I said help me now!" Varden screams his orders hoping the slave crest will force him to do what was told.

Unfortunately for the Duke thanks to the sound-canceling magic muffs, Ricker couldn't hear a single word he was saying, just witnessing his soundless mouth moving. He can't be forced to follow an order he can't hear could he?

The manticore finally pounces its way to the helpless Duke as he continues to scream, "Help me! Help! HELP ME! HELP ME! HELP MMEEEEEEEEEEE!" the manticore finally gets its claws on the screaming man and without hesitation begins to rip him to pieces, limb by limb until it rips the top half of his body off and eats it along with the rest of him.

Varden was now dead to the satisfaction of Ricker, "Oh my, how sad that my master ended up getting torn to shreds. Too bad I couldn't hear his little cries for help to assist him." he jokes as he throws off the magic muffs now able to hear once more, he then looks down at his chest and saw the slave crest breaking apart, "And now it looks like I'm a free man again." he continued as he turns to the coalition group.

They all looked horrified to see their leader being ripped apart as they looked back at a now freed Ricker with no magical chains to hold him back.

Ricker points his sword to them and smiles, "Listen well, there has been a slight change of plans. Since Varden is no longer with us, I'll be taking his place in taking over this kingdom. As long all of you continue to go along with me and not oppose my rule in any way I'll let all of you do whatever the hell you want and be safe under my protection. Any objections?" he proposes.

Despite all of them not liking the idea of a mad sadist becoming their king, they all came this far and if Ricker was being honest the results would be the same to them of having total control of the kingdom. Father Marc of the Shield and Sword church saw it that way as well, "Of… of course my lord, we'll support you in any way we can." he agreed with the others nodding as well.

Ricker smiles smugly, "That's what I thought. Now we just need to deal with you 3." he says then points to King Andraw, Linda, and Ben who were fearfully up at a corner again.

"Sir.. Sir Sword hero, what are you even doing?!" Andraw asked confused by this whole event.

Ricker smiles as he points his sword at the King, "It's called a hostile takeover you old idiot. And I want to make sure the whole world sees it." he responds to the king who still can't believe what is happening while his daughter-in-law and Grandson continue to hug each other in fear.

Then from the penthouse doors emerged a small force of Ricker's revolting criminal slaves with the barriers before that stopped the guards from coming had finally been lowered once the fake hero killed the fake councilor.

Ricker smiles at them, "Perfect timing." he says then points to a confused Linda and Ben, "Grab the whore and brat and take them down to the center of the arena."

But that confusion turned to fear when two individuals from the criminal slaves who were covering their faces with masks emerged from the group and quickly grabbed hold of Linda and Ben, "Andraw! Help us!" Linda yelled.

"Grandpa help!" Ben also yells in fear as they are taken away.

As the King gets grabbed by the collar of his robe he looks back at Ricker, "Please Sword hero! Don't involve them in this! Just take me and I'll do whatever you want! Just leave those two alone!" he begged for them.

But Ricker just punched him in the face, "I have all the damn cards now idiot! You have nothing to offer me." he said as he pointed toward the group of revolting slaves as another one from the group emerge this one being a woman who also had a face mask on grabs hold of the King with Ricker smiling, "Now follow me and my new friends along with the old man, I want this night to be the ultimate coronation ceremony!"

"Coronation!?" the King expressed in continued fearful confusion.

Ricker walks his way out of the pent box with him, the coalition group, and the King being dragged along as they head their way down for Ricker to make his ultimate triumphant.

Outside the coliseum, under the fallen roads, the city's guard struggles to get out of the holes as they rapidly start filling up with water. It was far too high for any of them to jump or climb, and even then the magic barriers surrounding the entire area top they couldn't be blast through the top. They couldn't break down any of the walls either because of them also entrapping them around. Even though many of them can do magic, the barriers also seemed to be harping their magic abilities while stuck inside them, so all of their spells were useless while down there.

They try all their might with all the commanders or superior officers ordering whatever they could to figure out a way out. The guards and soldiers were not only afraid of drowning in the water that was already up to their waists, but they were horrified at the thought of what their rebels would do to the now undefended city with all of their families and friends in danger. But it continued to be of no use with no way for them out, it seemed even all the commanders had given up on the hopeless situation.

But to them and everyone else's surprise they saw a random molten blade cutting through from a wall and pierced through the magic barriers as it made a wide angle from one end to another.

This wall finally falls forward and there reveals a new opening where stood two women, one with Pink hair who puts away her originally molten blade, along with another shorter woman with green-braded hair.

"Rishia! The barrier!" the Pink haired one ordered with the green-haired girl nodding back.

With her powerful magic, Rishia manages to crack an opening in the magic barrier creating an opening that takes up the size of the large hole Eclair just cut through.

"All of you! Through the hole! Now Now!" Eclair shouted and ordered.

No one there knew who either girl was but they weren't going to question their rescuers. The commanders barked the same orders back and they along with the hundreds of guards all poured through the hole to escape into safety.

As the guards quickly get themselves collected from what happened one of the commanders comes up to Eclair, "Thank you miss for this. We would have all drowned or worse if you and your partner didn't make it in time." one of the commanders thanked the two.

Eclair nods back to the commander, "Don't just thank us, this was planned out by the sword hero. Also get the men energized and dried up as soon as possible. We still have a big problem to deal with above ground." she said and ordered as the commander nods back and goes to inform the other commanders about this.

Eclair looks back at Rishia, "Are you ok? You seemed strained." she asked with concern for the struggling girl.

"No I'm fine, it's a hard barrier, but I should be able to hold it until everyone is out." Rishia responds which makes Eclair smile to see the troubled girl having confidence in herself now.

"Is that a giant bird carrying a wagon?!" a soldier randomly yelled which got the two companions' attention knowing what that implied.

And from the tunnels came Scarlet running through with Ren and Raphtalia on her back with the wagon full of the rescued nobles, merc leaders, politicians, and merchants.

Scarlet finally stops herself right beside Eclair and Rishia with Ren jumping off with the Councilor coming out of the wagon with him, "Eclair how is the rescue going?" Ren immediately asked.

"OK for now, but we need to make sure everyone is rescued in there, we may need Scarlet's tracking ability to make sure we have everyone in there." Eclair responds.

Ren nods to that and looks toward the Filolial princess, "Ok Scarlet, you know what to do." he says knowing she heard the whole thing.

"Yes Sir Master Ren." she chirped as she unhooked herself from the carriage and ran through the hole to track and look for any guards left behind.

The Councilor then approached a commander, "What's going on above?! What of the King and my family?!" he asked with great concern in his tone.

"The guard was ordered to surround the coliseum when we got word of an attempted assassination on his majesty, then the ground collapsed around us. We don't know what else is going on here." the commander quickly answers him.

"Oh no, Linda, Ben, father! We need to get up there as soon as possible. Who knows what danger they are in now." Frandon shouts deeply fearing his wife's and son's life as well as his dad's.

Ren though placed his hand on his shoulder to calm him down, "Don't worry yet sir. I have some friends above to ensure they will be fine. But we do need to hurry, even if they have their limits. The time of hiding in the shadows is over, now it's time for my own big debut to the public." he responds as he looks up himself ready for anything to be thrown at the hero.

Back above ground, the entire coliseum has been completely taken over. The escaped criminal slaves now controlled the structure with most of them all in the bottom of the arena cheering for their victory tonight.

All of the remaining guards that surrendered or anyone else who was still in the building had all been gathered up and placed in a flaming cage barrier where their fates would be judged as soon as their leader finished his "coronation".

At the center of the arena were Lady Linda and young Benjamin still being held by their masked capturers, the two knew that they wouldn't be able to talk their way out of this situation and could only witness this circus act that was happening with their eyes.

They and everyone else then turned their heads up toward a large podium usually the place where the coliseum's announcer would reside, there came Ricker Black himself smugly smiling and waving to his men as they cheered toward their leader, and right behind was his coalition group continuing to play along with there new leader but are still fine enough with the results that are transpiring now, along with the King still being held by the other masked rebel until he was forced on his knees by order of Ricker now the king was now front and center with the imposter Sword hero.

Ricker then raised his hand up to quiet his men down, now there to watch on along with multiple men holding crystal balls to broadcast this across the nation and the world.

Ricker finally speaks up, "Today has been a tremendous achievement men! We have basically single-handedly taken control of this whole kingdom! No longer are we slaves, now we are the masters and are ready to enact our wraths on every single bastard that has pissed you off! From those who bought you to being forced to look fun to those brats who also booed at you for not being exciting enough! Now we get our revenge tonight!"

Many in the Coliseum cheer on to Ricker's words as the evil man continues, "After this we'll loot whatever we want from the rest of the city and show who is in charge now!"

"AHEM!" coughed behind Ricker which came from the coalition group, "With some exceptions of course. But otherwise we'll have our fun!" he added in, even he knew that he was going to need this coalition's support to fight against what will remain of the merchant council to enforce his rule. But cheering still continued from below.

Ricker then steps closer to the edge with Andraw being dragged along, with the poor king unable to do anything to stop this madness, "But before we have our fun, I want to make things crystal clear to the kingdom and the whole world to know!"

Without any hesitation Ricker just nabs away Andraw's crown from the top of his head, "On this very night, as your god and cardinal sword hero! I declare myself the new King of Zeltoble!" he yelled and immediately placed the crown on his own head. Once more a huge roar of cheering was heard across the coliseum as the criminal slaves cheered for their supposed new King.

Ricker then turns his head to the coalition group, "There are no objections to this change is there?" he playfully asked already knowing the answer to that.

Father Marc nodded in approval and made a small bow to Ricker, "Of course not, as long as our businesses and our church remain untouched and allowed to do what we want, we'll help aid your regime. We have no objections my King." he responds with the others nodding in agreement also making there bows to this hostile take over, as far as they were all concerned as long as there own properties and businesses remain untouched they could care less what the fake hero planned.

"Perfect!" Ricker says as he continues to wave down below to his cheering crowd.

Andraw though despite having no power at this point wasn't going to accept any of this, "Your reign won't last long you evil man! The rest of the nobility will not allow this and will try to do whatever they can to take you down." he tells off Ricker who just smiles smugly back.

"Hahaha, I doubt they will have much bark or bite to them considering I imprisoned all your best allies and those that would've put up a fight are all rat food now. Hahaha!" Ricker mocked him. Andraw quickly connected the dots on what he was implying, all those arrests that he allowed, it was so these evil men could stop any resistance to their soon to be takeover. And he just played to their hands.

Ricker wasn't done yet, "Also, tonight I want to make an example on those that will try to even think about screwing me over. That example being you." the fake hero said as he snapped his fingers, "Bring forth the brat and whore!" he yelled down below.

From the crowd came the two masked individuals, walking forward to the center while still holding onto Lady Linda and Ben, they were both terrified as they looked up toward an equally horrified Andraw,

"Andraw please do something!"

"Grandpa, please!" the two cried for help with the King just helpless as his holder continued her grip on the king preventing any movement.

"Please! Let them go! You have what you want! The crown and kingdom are yours! They are innocents that have nothing to do with this!" Andraw continued to beg while Ricker just kept laughing.

"I told you this was to make an example you old bag! Now the nobility will know what will happen to themselves if they ignore or screw with me! Not only will their families get butchered! They'll be forced to watch it before they are butchered themselves!" Ricker laughed at the king who couldn't believe how evil this man was.

"You… you monster! He's just a child and she is also carrying a baby in her!"

"Ohhoho, you have no idea how many brats I've cut down myself! This is nothing in comparison!" he continued laughing.

However down below with the terrified Linda, she heard a voice behind herself, "Once things start going crazy, please hold on tight." whispered in Linda's ear which confused her that it was from the masked individual who was holding her, Ben was also equally confused when he was whispered the same thing from his holder.

Ricker above was done joking around and pointed his sword down toward the two while making sure Andraw was witnessing the whole thing, "Alright, enough talking, kill the bitch and brat already!" he ordered.

"No!" Andraw cried, helpless to do anything to stop this.

The two figures holding Linda and Ben take up their weapons, an ax and knife respectively ready to butcher the two as the crowd of criminals chant for the kills to be as bloody as possible.

However once it seemed like they were ready to strike the two down, "Earth rumble!" shouted the one holding Linda, who stomps on the ground and with her magic instantly created dozens of thick solid earth cubes that surrounded her and the other holding Ben. Just a second after, the cubes are launched on all sides striking all the criminal revolters surrounding them, and just after that the masked woman strikes the ground again creating a full earth dome around themselves.

"What in the hell!?" Ricker shouted in genuine shock at what just happened with the coalition group equally confused by this whole development.

But before Ricker could react, the one who was keeping the king in place threw a black ball at his face.

It exploded into a thick cloud of smoke stunning Ricker for a few seconds as he coughed through the thick smoke, "I FUCKING HATE SMOKE BOMBS!" He screamed and instinctively in his rage he swung down his sword at King Andraw to kill the king.

But once the smoke immediately cleared up Ricker could now see Andraw and the one who threw the smoke bomb were completely gone now with the sword just hitting solid ground with no decapitation.

"Where the fuck are they!?" he yelled but as he also felt his head he noticed his crown was no longer on his head either, "And where the fuck is my crown!?" he also yelled.

The coalition group looks around themselves wondering who that was and where the king is at all before Ricker throws all his anger at them.

Thankfully for them one of the nobles spots something, "Over there!" he yells and points toward some audience stands, Ricker turns toward it as he witnesses King Andraw being carried away on the back of the one who threw the smoke bomb, after taking off her mask it was Farrie herself managing to undermine Ricker and even stole the crown back while he was blinded.

Ricker though wasn't having it, "You damn bitch! Nobody steals from the King!" he screams, and with his sword turning red he fires his magic beam attacks at her. Thankfully Farrie's speed and agility were high level to dodge them but she continued running from attack after attack as Ricker attempted to blow them both up.

And while he was busy with those two he shouted below, "Don't stand there dumbasses! Kill those do-gooders along with the brat and whore!" he yelled as he continued firing his magic attacks in rage at the audience stands.

The large force of criminal slaves immediately do as told and start attacking the earth dome. But before they could break it down, the 2 "do-gooders" emerged from a massive earth block, blasting themselves out from the dome and sending a bunch of the criminals flying.

Those two happen to be Kiel and Fohl themselves now no longer wearing masks, both holding on to Linda and Ben doing as told as they grip their shoulders.

Despite the shock of the burst, the criminals attempt to surround and kill the 4.

Kiel however was stronger than she looked as she blocked and knocked away a bunch of goons with her ax even one-handed. Her earth magic also helps her restrict the movement of the criminals, providing defense, and knocking a bunch of them out after being hit with thick rock in their faces.

Fohl didn't have much in comparison with just a long knife he was given by Hale, but he made it up with his extremely fast agility, even while holding onto another child, he was able to dodge every swing, every spear throw, and every magic blast attack from the army of criminals. He also had some help from Kiel's earth magic taking every advantage he was given.

Some of the larger ones human and demi-human criminals alike even tried to dog pile on the Tiger kid, but like before he dodged each one, leaving big pile-ups with no one underneath them.

Ricker was busy trying to kill Farrie as she continued dodging each attack along with some of his criminal goons at the audience stands trying to stop her. But the most that accomplished is her dodging their attacks and then them screaming in pain as they get obliterated by Ricker's attacks.

Ricker though finally hit his limit and was out of mana, forcing the fake hero to drink mana potions while Farrie finally jumped off from the stands to the arena floor, "Quick this way guys!" Farrie shouted pointing to a gate at the bottom of the arena where they could get out at. Despite the gate being closed, Kiel knew with her magic or ax she would be able to break through it as she and Fohl continued to dodge all of the criminal goons' attacks as they started to mass up and chase the three.

"Who are you people exactly?" Linda asked herself while still holding on to her savior's back.

"Let's just say we're friends of the sword hero." Kiel casually responds which utterly baffled Linda considering what was going on right now.

Then Kiel, Fohl, and Farrie finally converged together running as fast as they could with their carry-ons while an army of criminals and slaves followed them.

After finishing drinking his mana potions Ricker was waiting for his skills to charge up so he could start blasting at those three for ruining his coronation.

However, things took a turn when the gate started rising itself up, to the surprise of the three along with Ricker and his army.

To the threes horror it appeared to be another army of criminal goons walking themselves in from that gate opening, "Shit! They have us cornered!" Fohl shouted not liking that they are seemingly surrounded now.

The army of criminal goons stopped their chase as they thought their targets were cornered now. Ricker saw the same as he smugly smiled at this, "Hahaha, nice try idiots! But no one steals from royalty and gets away with it! As traitors to the new crown, all of you will be my first executions! Men! Don't damage my crown! But otherwise have fun with them!"

The goons from the arena side cheered on as a bunch of them started running toward the group again thinking they we cornered.

Fohl looked the most concerned of them, thinking he was done for, which to him usually wouldn't be a big deal, but what he was concerned about was leaving his sick sister to be all alone by herself, "Please tell me we have another plan right! Right!" he shouts to Farrie and Kiel hoping for an answer.

But after a few seconds, all that Kiel and Farrie respond with is smiling at Fohl once they look back at the goons within the gate opening, now confusing the kid.

It did seem like the goons were finally approaching the three ready to have their fun with them, but-

"Hundred swords!" shouted from the gate opening and from there many energy swords spawned within and they all caught the approaching goons off-guard and immediately stabbed through many of them instantly killing them.

The horde of goons stopped themselves confused as to what happened, with Ricker equally baffled, "What the hell was that!?" he shouted not understanding what was going on.

But it became clear as one of the "goons" from the opening came out and immediately a light appeared around his body until it dissipated away showing it was Ren Amaki himself still in a cloak and mask.

Right behind him, the army of goons disappeared from the light revealing an army of the city guard and soldiers, with Eclair, Scarlet, Rishia, and even Councilor Frandon there standing their ground.

"Ha, I knew it." Kiel responds with Farrie nodding in agreement.

Fohl still seemed confused but wasn't going to question this as he and the two others ran with their carry-ons toward the army that was now approaching the arena.

Ricker was now both confused and furious to see this happening, "How in the hell is he alive!?" he shouts recognizing the weak spy he beat earlier, with his coalition group just as confused.

"Not just him but the Councilor as well." Father Marc added in now looking worried as he and others saw their plan falling apart.

Back with the Councilor himself, he along with Fohl, Kiel, and Farrie were safely in a corner now protected by many guards as the three finally them put Andraw, Linda, and Ben down.



Linda and Ben shouted as they immediately rushed to hug the now happy Councilor, "Oh I'm so glad all of you are safe.

Andraw was just confused after he put his crown back on, "Frandon, what is going on here? Who are these people?" he asked referring to the sword hero companions.

Frandon just nods to Farrie who will be guarding them until the battle is over while Kiel and Fohl join up with the guard forces, "It'll be explained soon." Farrie says.

Andraw didn't know what any of this was but he along with everyone else turned toward Ren as he was walking himself in front of everyone else making his presence known to the whole coliseum.

Ricker continued to be furious, "You're supposed to be fucking dead along with those other weaklings! Just who do you think you are! Going against the new king of this nation! The Cardinal Sword hero! Your own god!" he yelled down toward Ren still making this about himself.

Ren however finally grabs his mask off and then threw off his cloak, showing everyone his true self, "I'm Ren Amaki, the true Cardinal Sword hero. Summoned from another world to not only stop the waves of catastrophe, but to stop men like you. Scum that needs to be put down." he announced to everyone making it clear who he really was to not only to those in the coliseum but to the nation and world watching from the crystal balls that were still recording the whole thing.

Ricker was in absolute shock by this with the coalition just horrified by the implications, "The Sword hero?! The true sword hero!?" Father Marc shouts out loud with his worst fears about this plan coming true.

Sadeena's sponsor also looked just as horrified, "The lead Dark Angel was the Sword hero the whole time!?" he panics to himself.

Ricker however wasn't going to let something like this ruin his night as he grits his teeth in fury, "I don't give a damn who you claim to be you brat! I'll have your head as a trophy either way along with the rest of your whores! Men! Charge and kill them ALL!" he shouted and ordered with his army of armed criminals charging at the Sword hero and his army.

"Charge!" Ren shouted as he pointed his sword toward the opposing army, and with that the rest of his team and the army of guards and soldiers charged in themselves.

This begins a massive clash between the two armies, starting a big battle in the middle of the arena with arrows and magic being thrown all over the place. Both sides were close to equal numbers, though Ren's side was more armored and more coordinated with even weaker soldiers being able to maneuver and gang up on larger more powerful criminal goons.

All the while Ren and his team kept up the advance with the Sword hero being able to cut down even the strongest fighter.

Ricker can see that from above and doesn't like where the battle is going and knows he has to take action, "The brat wants to be a strong hero? Well, I hope he's ready to die like one." Ricker says as he pulls a lever from the podium.

From that pulled lever a new gate in the arena opens up. This time emerging out of the gate was a massive manticore, the same one Ricker fed Varden to. He jumps from the podium and lands himself right on the monster while gripping its chains around its neck like a mount, "Forward!" he yells at the monster with the manticore charging its way to the sword hero.

Ren saw it coming though, "Scarlet!" he shouted to her immediately knowing what he wanted as he jumped himself on her back and the bird monster also charged her way to the massive manticore.

Both sides continued charging toward each other wanting to see if the other would run, but neither did even as Ricker mowed through his own men with his mount.

Finally, the two monsters clashed with each other, and with that so did the clash between the Swordsmen causing a great force to be felt across the arena.

Both had powered up their swords and were both slashing and blocking each other's attacks while at the same time Scarlet and the Manticore bashed and tried to claw each other.

Ricker even forced his mount to strike Ren with its scorpion stinger making the hero dodge two things at the same time.

Scarlet however managed to bite on the stinger tail after another miss and Ren slices the tail off.

The manticore screeched in pain for a few seconds while what was left of its tail was bleeding, but this lasted only a few seconds as Ricker forced the monster to charge at the filolial queen again.

This time however, Ricker jumps from his mount right before the two monsters clashed and the strike of his sword on Ren's with the sword hero quickly blocking it.

The power of the attack was enough to cause the cardinal hero to be forced off his mount from sheer force and strength.

Ren slides across the ground until his momentum stops, with Scarlet now fighting the manticore on her own.

Ricker lands himself not far from Ren as he evilly smiles once more, "Not bad, where was this power at when down at the tunnels?"

"I intentionally lost to you so I could rescue all of those people you arrested, this time though we fight for real." Ren says back with confidence.

Ricker just found this amusing, "Is that so? Then how about we fight like men here, hero! Maybe if I kill you I'll send you back to your world again to cry to your mommy!" he insults back wanting to get into Ren's head.

Ren though wasn't intimidated, "For your information, I've already died once before to another psychopath like you, so you offer nothing new to me. At least I don't pretend to be someone else to ride on their success while failing in their own life." he insults back.

That of course struck a nerve on Ricker, "Let's see who's successful once your guts are spilling out!" he yelled and without a second more he charged at Ren without mercy.

The two now officially clashed. With the two swinging and blocking each other's swords. Despite Ren's own skills, Ricker was no slouch himself being the more aggressive one of the two and was even notably faster than the Sword hero. But despite that, Ren manages to keep up with his doubleganger as these powerful clashes continue, even making their powerful force from the attacks be felt by everyone surrounding them.

Eclair ran toward the two to help Ren, only for her to be stopped by Vicar as she jumped toward the swordwoman with her mace. Eclair managed to block it in time, "You know defying the will of the king makes you a traitor. And traitors always get executed." she mocked her.

Eclair just smiles back, "Well this isn't the first I got labeled as a traitor by a tyrant, be happy to see this one fall as well." she responds back and the two begin their own powerful duel together.

Rishia and Raphtalia ran toward the flaming cage of the civilians and captured hostages were forced in, they fought off a large force of criminal goons guarding the area to free them quickly.

And not far from them Kiel and Fohl were fighting against any leaders of the criminals to both help make them disorganized and shatter their morale. One of them was Hale from earlier, he was fully focusing on Fohl. Despite being far under level and was 3 times smaller than Hale, Fohl continued to dodge all of the swings, but the white tiger kid still struggled to break through the Wolfman's own blocking.

Hale mocks him for it, "Having a struggle in a real fight kitten? Well unfortunately there isn't an announcer that will save you here!" he then hits Fohl over and over again with his sword until he knocks away his knife, Fohl manages to get a bigger sword from picking it up from a corpse but it was barely big enough to hold him back.

Hale decided to mock Fohl again, "Hope you said goodbye to that weak sister of yours along with that boyfriend dog of you-AAH!" but then that was interrupted by an ax being carved right into his shoulder that came from Kiel with the wolfman quickly looking up behind himself to her.

"I'm a lady for your information." Kiel comments back who then punches Hale in the face breaking a bunch of his teeth from her metal gauntlets.

Fohl quickly drops on his back with Kiel pushing an injured Hale toward him until Fohl lifts him from his back.

And without a second to react to all of that Kiel uses her earth magic to send Hale flying in the air with an earth block and to his luck he lands directly on the flaming cage holding the hostages, and with the cage's spell once he made contact with it Hale screams in agony and instantly burns up quickly being reduced to ashes and bones.

Fohl smiles as he turns back to Kiel, "Thanks for the help, but are you really a girl?" he thanked and asked originally thinking she was a man, it didn't help Kiel's armor covered most of her body.

Kiel smiles back, "I don't regularly announce it, but yeah I'm a girl." she says which was still a surprise to Fohl but was glad that was cleared up and he wouldn't make any mistake in the future. They quickly went back to fighting to find more heads to take down.

Back at the flaming cage most of those that were guarding it had been taken out allowing Rishia to do her magic while Raphtalia guarded her. While the enchantment wasn't as hard as the barriers underground it was still a strong spell. Thankfully with her power, Rishia breaks the enchantment and the flaming cage dissolves away.

She and Raphtalia quickly evacuated and guarded the civilians, while the former captured guards quickly took up any weapon they could find on the ground and joined the battle as well.

Eclair's and Vicar's battle continued as it seemed the two were evenly matched, Vicar's levels and stats were superior but Eclair was superior in skill and reflexes. It is hard to tell who would eventually win this fight. But while she was blocking multiple strikes from Vicar's mace, Eclair saw Scarlet's battle with the manticore.

Despite the monster's size and fury, it was clear Scarlet was the superior animal after stunning it with a good kick in the gut, she then used her wind magic to blow the monster in the air and with this opportunity she swipes at her opponent over and over with her clawed feet until she finally cuts through its throat immediately killing the manticore as the monster falls dead on the ground crushing a bunch of goons with it.

Eclair smiles staring up and after she overpowered and pushed away Vicar, the pink haired swordswoman jumps away a good distance away from her opponent.

Vicar was confused and tried to mock Eclair for that, "What's the matter you bitch? Gotten too scared of getting your head smashed by a-" *smash*

But Vicar was permanently cut off after her head was crushed by Scarlet's smashing it into the ground with her large clawed bird feet, "You ok Eclair?" Scarlet asked.

"I'm fine, let's get to master Ren and see if he needs help." Eclair responds with Scarlet nodding in agreement with the two going to search for Ren.

With Ren himself, his battle with Ricker continued on with the fake sword hero throwing everything he had on Ren as Ricker struck with rapid-fire swings to overwhelm the young hero. The two then made a big clash with each other with their energized swords struggling to overpower the other.

"You think you can beat me kid!? I've probably killed long before you knew how to properly use a sword. You're nothing more than a kid with a toy playing hero." Ricker mocks Ren back to get him off guard.

Even if some of those words did get into Ren's head, it didn't falter his resolve, "Yes this is the first time I've drawn a real life sword, but that just makes it more embarrassing to you when you finally lose to me." he insults back which did enrage Ricker a bit and tried to push harder to beat his rival.

This backfired though after Ren finally used a skill for a quick strength boost to overpower a surprised Ricker allowing Ren to get a good cut across Ricker's side. It didn't leave a real cut but it left a significant drop to Ricker's hp.

This enraged Ricker again as he jumped away and started blasting magic attack after magic attack at Ren to vaporize the true hero.

These were numerous and powerful but the true cardinal hero manages to dodge or deflect them away with his sword.

After Ricker fires another powerful blast, Ren this time jumps away with a super jump above Ricker, "Hundred swords!" he shouts and from the air Ren forms his energy swords that launch at the fake hero as he was forced to do the same of deflecting and dodging the energy swords.

But while he was doing that Ren landed himself at the side of the arena wall, "Meteor blade!" Ren shouted and fired one of his strongest attacks at Ricker. The fake didn't have enough time to deflect it and could only tank most of it with his sword.

Ren then launched himself at the stunned Ricker, with the impact of his momentum the true sword hero knocked him off his balance and used this opportunity to rapidly strike Ricker over and over.

"Thunderbolt slash!" Ren shouted and through that powerful attack he launched Ricker far away with the evil man rolling across the ground.

Ricker quickly got himself back up while Ren was temporarily distracted by a couple of high-level goons trying to protect their new "king".

But all of this was a giant insult to Ricker as it seemed like this "boy" was now getting the upper hand on him while his mana reserves were nearly dried up. It pissed him to no end, "I will not be beaten by this stupid naive boy!" he shouts out loud and noticed he was bleeding on the side. With this reminder, he then sinisterly smiled as he knew it was time for him to fight at his prime.

This immediately started when a lower-level goon came up to Ricker, "Sir are you ok?" he asked.

"Perfectly fine, I just need something from you though." Ricker responded and asked weirdly politely.

"Ok Sir, what do you need?…. AH!" but the goon's response was Ricker stabbing him right through the heart with his sword.

"Your blood!" Ricker shouted with a sinister smile as he ripped the sword back out.

With the goon bleeding dead on the ground Ricker uses his body as a catalyst for his magic, all around his general area corpses from both sides begin to shake until all of the blood pours their way right to Ricker as his body quickly absorbs the large amount of blood going into himself.

After taking out the last high-leveled goon Ren didn't know what was going on at first but knew it wasn't good and fired a magic bolt at Ricker only for that to be stopped by a transparent red energy barrier, a barrier powered by blood.

Ricker continues to change from the blood, his wounds heal up, his mana not only recovers but increases tenfold, his muscles expand and get thicker, and his eyes turn completely red.

"HAHAHAHAHA! Now I'm invincible!" Ricker shouts with his voice sounding deeper than usual. He then looks back at Ren as he holds his ground, but the fake hero just sinisterly smiles back once more, "You want to fight with the big boy's child? Well here's your reality check!" he mocks and then he starts grunting and bending his back.

Ren immediately noticed a lump on Ricker's back that was growing and growing until a dark red column burst from his back and cape. Ren wasn't sure what this was at first but it was quickly revealed as the large column splits apart into 8 parts. These columns were giant crystallized blood mechanical spider legs now opened and spread out, 2 immediately stabbed themselves into the ground lifting Ricker up 10 feet in the air as actual legs with the 6 other legs expanded out ready to used for combat, all the while Ricker waved his sword around, "Now kid, let's see who the true champion of this arena is!"

And without giving Ren time to sink it in, Ricker immediately uses his crystalized blood spider legs to attack the cardinal hero forcing him to dodge the attacks from all 6 legs. And while legs attacked, Ricker fires more beam attacks from his sword that were now more powerful than ever thanks to the blood magic empowering him.

Ren was forced to retreat up on the audience stands from super jumping up there, while Ricker pursued him with the crystalized spider legs allowing him to easily move quickly. Ricker is persistent in making sure Ren is dead as he rapidly attacks him with his spider legs again and again. Ren tried all he could to dodge and block them as much as he could, but it was near impossible with the amount of legs attacking at once.

Blasting Ricker in the face with magic attacks does nothing as the magic blood barrier continues protecting the evil faker.

Ren eventually fails to properly block one leg as the tip of the blood leg leaves a cut on his shoulder. It wasn't a serious cut but enough to know those things can really hurt him.

"Hahaha! Soon I'll be seen as a true god king of this nation. And you'll be just a head on a pike!" Ricker mocks Ren again thinking he has the true upper hand now as he continues his attacks while Ren continues to dodge or block the spider legs.

Ricker threw two of his spider legs on Ren forcing the hero to hold them back, Ricker then also fired a powerful magic beam attack on Ren truly forcing the hero in place making him unable to move. This though freed his other 4 spider legs ready to stab and sink into Ren's sides.

Ricker then goes for the kill.

But just in the nick of time both Eclair and Scarlet jumped in to stop both sets of legs, with Eclair holding back the right set and Scarlet with the left set.

Ren was happy to see his team here, while Ricker looked pissed off, "What the hell is this you weak child!? Resorting to use your harem to protect your weak ass!" he yells back continuing his insults.

"Says the weak fake using other people's blood to power yourself up. Meteor blade!" Ren insults and shouts back now using his mana to power his sword even while holding off the two legs and beam, he now fires his own beam that overpowers Ricker's own one.

The attack wasn't enough to break the barrier but it was enough to stun Ricker off balance for a few seconds, but the faker quickly recovered himself now more enraged than ever, "I'LL BE USING ALL OF YOUR BLOOD SOON ENOUGH!" he screams enraged and attacks the three of them.

The spider legs were still fast and deadly as before, but thanks to Eclair's and Scarlet's presence Ricker was forced to attack 3 opponents at once.

It was still a hard battle as Ricker remained persistent in killing all of them.

When Eclair barely dodged one leg, Ren took that opportunity to energize his sword, and quickly clean cut half of it off.

Ricker looked annoyed at one of his spider limbs being cut, but the faker just smugly smiled again as he raised his free arm up to use his blood magic. Once more blood from the new corpses of the arena moves their way to Ricker even leaking up the walls all thanks to his magic, the blood is collected by his other legs with the cut spider limb quickly regenerating back, "Hahahaha, as long as blood is being spilled! I am invincible!" he mocks the 3.

That was until the blood just stopped flowing, "WHAT!?" he expressed confused, and as he turned he saw Rishia with Raphtalia beside her, she was now using her own magic to counter Ricker's blood magic, and all the blood was now remaining on the ground, "Not so invincible now are you." Rishia says back with a stern face.

Despite his blood supply being cut off Ricker continued his fight as he aims his sword at Rishia, "How about you stay out of this you damn bitch!" he yelled and fires a magic attack at her.

But Rishia just formed a magic barrier above and stopped the attack while also maintaining her anti-blood magic spell. Rishia also made barrier platforms that allowed Raphtalia to jump up to the audience stands to help fight back.

Ricker is still persistent in killing them as he fights back. Though started to see he was getting overwhelmed by numbers and with his blood supply cut off his power was now limited. He began to secretly fall back with his bottom spider legs and move backward to gain distance from the sword hero team. But all of a sudden both of his walking spider legs tips get covered up with stone, "What the hell!?" he yelled confused.

"Don't try to run while you're in the middle of your duel coward." Shouted a voice who turned out to be Kiel who had Fohl with her getting on the audience stands the same way with Rishia making another platform barrier further down from the fight.

"YOU DAMN ANIMALS!" Ricker screamed as he both fired a magic attack from his sword and threw two of his spider legs at the two.

But the beam once again was stopped by another magic barrier from Rishia. Kiel managed to block one leg with her ax and Fohl backflipped away from the other leg and just as quickly jumped on the leg and ran up on it until he saw a weak point that was caused by Scarlet slicing at it and with his power and sword he cuts through the leg in half.

"No! Damn you!" he yelled as he tried blasting Fohl with his sword and with his blood supply cut off he can't regrow that spider limb.

And while he was distracted with those two Raphtalia and Eclair made their move, "Scarlet launch us up toward him!" Eclair ordered and as she and Raphtalia walked up Scarlet's back, the Princess Fiolilal then launched the two up toward Ricker while his back was turned.

The two land right on the barrier protecting Ricker as they stick their blades into it to rapidly damage the barrier and make it crack.

Ricker immediately took notice and attempted to swat the two away with his spider legs.

But Scarlet jumps in the air with Ren as the two stop the other legs from harming them along with Rishia putting up more barriers to stop the legs in their tracks.

In just a few seconds the damage output of both swords overwhelms the magic barrier and finally cracks it open.

Ricker's body was now vulnerable with Rishia from afar firing her magic missile attacks, with the legs busy stopping the others Ricker was forced to block the attacks with his sword.

And from far away from battle, Farrie was still guarding the royal family who were all watching the whole thing, and with Ricker distracted and his protection barrier destroyed Farrie took out another smoke bomb, and with her ability to throw things in far distances she threw the smoke bomb at Ricker.

Ricker didn't notice in time and the bomb goes off right in his face, "DAMN IT! NOT AGAIN!" he screamed now temporarily blinded by the bomb.

Ren takes advantage of this and jumps off Scarlet over Ricker's head all the while everyone else is dealing with the other legs.

As he looked over a distracted Ricker he noticed something in his coat pocket, he didn't want to believe that such a thing exists yet in this world, but he would have to think about it in a minute as he focused back on the battle.

Ren was where he wanted to be at, and with his sword now energized he slices right at where the blood legs emerge from cutting all 8 of them off.

To Ricker's surprise, he falls 10 feet back on the stadium floor cut off guard by the loss of his biggest advantage, and before he could think Scarlet runs up to him and kicks Ricker straight in the face sending the fake hero flying.

But once he flew passed Kiel, she stomped foot and using her earth magic made a thick stone wall with Ricker crashing into it.

"Damn you all! I'm still far more powerful than any of you idiots!" he yells back as he quickly gets himself back up, though he wasn't truly bluffing he still had a lot of blood in him empowering himself, boosting his stats, and regenerating any injury.

But this didn't stop Ren as he boosted himself with Raphtalia combo skilling a light spell on his sword and charged at Ricker who did the same with their big sword clash causing a surge of force to be felt across the coliseum once again. The two rapid strike their swords over and over again with Ricker using all the power he could to finally overwhelm his opponent. But the true Sword hero refused to allow himself to give in even when it started to hurt to block Ricker's attacks.

But this solo duel ended with Eclair, Kiel, and Scarlet running up toward Ricker as they surrounded the evil fake to help block and stop his rapid attacks.

"I am the new god king of this country and I will not allow any of you ruin my assen-AAHH!" Ricker taunts until he gets blindsided by a stab on his side revealing to be Raphtalia who used illusion magic to make herself invisible.

And with that injury catching the fake off guard, Ren rapidly hits his sword against Ricker's over and over, and with this opening, Kiel hits Ricker's back with her ax, Scarlet scratches his other side with her clawed feet, Eclair stabs him in the leg, and Rishia from afar launches a bunch of small missile magic attacks at his head over and over again.

The combined attacks made Ricker's healing work overtime to keep him at his prime but this just drained more and more blood in his system. It finally reached a point where the last of his stolen blood was finally used up, Ricker's muscles resend, his eyes reverted back to being white, and all of his stats took a nosedive.

Ren took full advantage of that as he rapidly attacked his weakened now tired opponent over and over, Ricker tried to block the cardinal weapon, but he was no longer at his best as Ren got through and made several cuts at Ricker over and over damaging his hp with no means of healing it anymore. It became so one-sided that Ren's team just stood and watched as their hero beat the living hell out of his evil double.

Ren finally knocks Ricker back to the audience stands stone wall edge after Ren makes a deep cut diagonally across Ricker's torso, going right through his armor, "Meteor blade!" Ren shouted and fired his biggest attack at Ricker directly blasting his fake right through the stone wall across the arena until he smashed into a wall at the other end of the arena floor. Ricker was still alive, but barely as he struggled to get up.

Ren then turned to one of his teammates, "Raphtalia, I need you to do something for me." he asked which made the Raccoon girl curious as to what he needed her for.

Back down in the arena Ricker finally got himself back up even though he was feeling pain all over his body. He knew it didn't look good for him, he could already tell his criminal goons were already on the losing side as the guard now outnumbered them with most of their team leaders dead. He wasn't in any better shape either, he was out of mana and drank the last of his potions earlier, even if Rishia wasn't there stopping him from doing it he was unable to conduct any more blood magic. To make his situation worse he looks at his sword, "SHIT!" he expressed out loud once he sees that his sword has a bunch of cracks on it, deeply damaged from the battle, he knew well if Ren attacks him again he was dead meat.

And that seemed to be rapidly approaching as he saw the sword hero, sprinting his way to Ricker to finally end this for good.

Ricker though just smugly smiles again as he reaches for his coat pocket.

Ren energizes his sword again with power and goes to finally kill his fake, but...


a loud sound was heard all across the coliseum, grabbing everyone's attention both the guards, Ricker's criminal goons, and the sword hero team completely stopping the fighting.

That sound came from what Ricker was holding, a large hand pistol of black powder variety. And across from him, just a few feet was Ren who looked like he was in pain. Ren was shot by an actual gun, in a world that seemed to lack them.

Nobody knew what just happened they had never seen such a weapon before, but it was clear it did as intended as Ren kneels in pain holding his shot stomach.

Ricker was now just smiling and laughing it up, "HahahahahahaHAHAHAHA!" he then approached the down hero as everyone continued to just watch as it seemed Ricker had become victorious. Once right up to Ren while twirling the gun Ricker mocks the hero, "Looks like the child has finally been put in his place. I'll give you this, you nearly had me, but in the end you can't compete with a true genius mastermind."

"How... how did you get something like that?" Ren asked deeply in pain regarding the gun.

"Oh, this thing? It was Duke Varden's, it was some birthday gift from a cousin of his from Faubrey he got a week or so ago, a prototype of experimental technology they started developing over there. Hard to understand at first but thankfully his cousin also included instructions." Ricker responds and then just threw the pistol away, "Unfortunately it only fires once and takes like a long ass minute to reload it." he continued but then just reaches into his other pocket, "Thankfully they were a dual wield set." he then takes out a second pistol and aims it point blank range at Ren's head.

"Sir Ren no!" Scarlet shouted in fear from the stands unable to get to him fast enough as everyone else was forced to watch.


the second pistol fires directly at Ren's forehead. Such a shot would kill anyone instantly.

Ricker just laughs as he throws the other now useless pistol away, "AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, I win I WIN! Zeltoble is mine now, and the rest of the world will bow before its new go-HUH!?"

But to his shocked surprise as he looked back at Ren, and saw that not only was the Sword hero not dead, but instead of a bloody hole, his forehead bullet hole was made of glowing energy light, "Fooled you." Ren mocks back and his body just dissolves into nothing. It was an illusion made by Raphtalia the whole time since he jumped off the audience stands.

An absolutely confused Ricker didn't know what was going on, but from behind him above a figure was up in the stands above Ricker, it was the real Sword hero as Ren then jumped and flipped in the air now finally revealing himself with his sword energized with all of his power aiming directly for Ricker.

"SHIT!" Ricker expressed with zero time to run or do anything else and had just wasted his two trump cards, he had no choice but to reactively pull out his damaged sword and hopefully block the attack.

But Ren finally lands with his sword hitting directly on the ground right below Ricker.

For a brief moment, everyone thought Ren missed, but it became apparent the opposite was true.

Ricker's sword was cut in two with the top half falling on the ground with Ricker just dropping the other half.

Ricker himself also had a bright, vertical glowing energy line bisecting his whole body from top to bottom, with the faker continuing his in pain shocked look as his HP dropped like a rock.

"That... that wasn't... fair..." Ricker finally said as his HP finally hit 0.

His body then literally split in half, vertically from that glow line with the two body halves now lying lifeless on the ground. Thankfully from the energy cut it wasn't as bloody or messy as it could've been.

But like that, Ricker Black was now dead. The fake sword hero was slain by the true sword hero.

Ren without a word sheeves his sword away back into a scabbard and looks out toward the arena where the crowd of allies and enemies continue to look shocked at what happened.

Then his team all smiled and cheered, "Hail to the true Sword hero!" Eclair shouts raising her sword up.

"Hail to the true Sword hero!" the guards cheered back.

And knowing they were already screwed with their leader dead, all of the criminal goons began to drop their weapons and immediately surrendered to the guard.

Back in the gate tunnel, the royal family saw the whole thing along with Farrie with Frandon, Linda, and Ben happy to witness this whole event, "That was so cool. So dad are we safe now?" Ben asked his dad with Frandon smiling back as he and his wife hugged their son.

"Yes Ben, thanks to the Sword hero we are all safe now." Frandon said genuinely believing that himself, even if he may be more of a realist type of a person he was glad to see people like Ren Amaki exist here in this world and helped save him and his family.

A few feet behind him was his father Andraw, while he felt happy he and his family were now safe, there was still guilt in the old man's heart knowing most of this was his fault, he knew he had a lot to reflect on tonight, and first he would like to speak with the real Sword hero for the first time.

Back up at the announcer's podium Father Marc and the Coalition were all horrified by what had happened, both of their leaders died tonight and the real Sword hero and King knew their faces and of their treachery. They all immediately turn toward the exit to make a run for it and either go into hiding, flee the country, or try to convince other nobles to protect them and start a rebellion against the monarchy to avoid any prosecution.

"And where do all of you think you're going?" said the voice of a scantily clad woman blocking the way out, the woman was Sadeena herself. After slaughtering the coalition goon guards to get here, she was going to make sure they don't try to make a run for it.

This made the coalition stop in their tracks, though Sadeena's sponsor wasn't having it as he approached the woman, "You get the fuck out of our way you drunk whore, or I'm going to have all of those slaves you hold dear get ki-AAH!" but he was cut off after Sadeena literally used her harpoon to slice her old sponsors arm off and then proceeded to kick him in the groin that launched him into a bunch of the other corrupt nobles.

"You have no idea how long I wanted to do that." Sadina sighed in relief. She then stabs her harpoon on the ground which begins to crack up underneath the coalition's feet from her strength and electricity magic.

The coalition members were confused about this at first, but before they had time to think, the ground collapsed on the corrupt nobles, Merc leaders, and merchants as they all fell into a caged area, similar to one that Varden fell in. There was no manticore this time, but the situation wasn't much better. The cage was filled up with large hungry tigers who were all woken up from their naps and are now very pissed.

"AHHH!" "AHHHH!" "HELP ME!" "MOMMY!" the coalition members all cried out and with none of them beinging fighters the tigers just mauled them all with their screams quickly being silenced.

Sadeena was happy to see all the scumbags getting what they deserved then look back at the hallway to hear some whimpering. It was from Father Marc who was still alive hanging on a torch post clinging for dear life, "Please help me, I'll do anything for you." he begged to a smugly smiling Sadeena.

She was happy the one scumbag she didn't want dead was alive and reached out her harpoon to the churchman as he immediately grabs it, "Thank you so much, may the gods bless you-"

But then Sadeena just flings the churchman out of the hallway. While screaming all the way, Marc is flung out of the announcer area and falls right into the arena as he rolls across the ground like a ragdoll.

Father Marc attempts to get himself back up to recover from that fall, only to quiver in fear as he looks up to see King Andraw himself staring down at him with anger, "Oh god! Your Majesty! Look I can explain everything, Duke Varden lied to me about the sword hero and-"

"I've heard enough lies tonight Marc, you and the rest of your church will get your chance to speak in your trials soon." Andraw interrupts and says to the Churchman as two guards immediately grabbed his arms and arrest Marc.

Marc knew he was screwed and attempted to make one last plea, but this time to the Sword hero who was approaching the King, "Lord Ren, please this whole thing was a big misunderstanding! If you help me I can make the whole world worship you, give you whatever your heart desires! Money, women, power I can give you all of those things!"

"Pope Balmus promised the same things and tried to kill me and my friends, you think I'm going to believe you? I'll enjoy watching your trial soon, it's not the first I've been through." Ren responds not buying the church head's promises for a second.

"But lord Ren I-" Marc begs until a guard finally gagged his mouth to shut him up as they take him away to prison.

King Andraw then approached Ren, "Sir Sword Hero, you have no idea how much I want to thank you for what you and your team have done tonight."

"Uh, no problem your majesty, just trying to make rights to wrongs here." Ren responds trying to not sound arrogant about it.

Andraw nodded in approval then said, "I would like to invite you and all of your friends that aided us tonight to the palace, I think all of us deserve a good night's sleep. We'll talk more in the morning or late afternoon it's pretty late as is." he then walks back to his son to talk with him some more.

Ren himself sighed in relief and sat himself down on the ground after this long long night. Some things were still on his mind, the big one being that firearms exist in this world. Even if what Ricker used was pretty primitive, his world's history has shown what eventually happens to swords and other close-range weapons once guns started to become a thing. He didn't know what that bullet would've done to him considering how this world works under some gaming logic but it was better to not take chances as soon as he saw them, he at least knew that these things came from Faubrey if what Ricker said was true. The implications still gave him a lot of thought, but it was something he wanted to think of later, as of now rest sounded good to him as he sat down on the ground.

His team including Fohl and Sadeena also came together as they also smiled at him and sighed in relief to each other with Scarlet even turning back to her human form to immediately rest on Ren's lap.

"Look's like you made history once again Sir Ren." Eclair congratulated her leader.

"No, we all made history here together. As a full team." Ren says as he rubs Scarlet's head in comfort, even if this wasn't originally his style in his old world he was happy to have a good team.

Many hours had passed since Ricker's death. Now is the next day in the afternoon.

News spread of what happened tonight with the attempted murders of not only the King but of the Councilor and his family from a rebellious slave of a corrupt noble. The so-called "conspirators" like Father Colin had been officially pardoned by the King clear of their charges along with the entire spy corp. Father Marc the last survivor of the true conspirators is now in jail along with the rest of his church and associates with the main cathedral now occupied by the guard. The four heroes church has been reinstated as the nation's official religion while the Sword and shield church has now been declared a heretical religion. The criminal rebels namely the ones owned by the state as criminals or the Coliseum itself were executed, the others who were owned by different owners had all sold them away to not have to deal with rebellious slaves. And the main Coliseum itself is under construction for repairs.

As they were promised the Sword hero, his team, and associates like Sadeena and Fohl were allowed to sleep in the king's palace that night. Fohl was also allowed to bring along his ill sister now in the palace's infirmary being given the best care the kingdom can offer.

After a good and long sleep for all of them, they were up now and were escorted into a guest room. In the guest room was King Andraw along with Councilor Frandon, Linda, Ben, Father Colin, and a cloaked man wearing black robes that Ren remembered being with the captives he saved in the sewers.

Once the Sword hero and his team were seated Andraw finally spoke, "Good to see you again lord Ren, you don't know how thankful I am for everything you've done last night."

Ren rubs his head trying to remain as humble as possible, "Again no problem your Highness, just doing my job."

Father Colin shakes his head to that, "Oh Sir Ren, you've done more than any cardinal hero is expected to do, you not only saved everyone in this room, but exposed Varden's and Marc's evil scheme to take over the nation."

Ben decided to speak up to the hero, "Yeah and you were so awesome back there beating up that evil faker and cutting him in half. That was far cooler than what that fake did in the arena a few days ago." he says to the hero which made Ren smile seeing he that he pretty much has a fanboy now.

Linda then spoke up, "How did you find out about this whole thing in the first place?" she asked with Andraw and Frandon curious about that as well.

Ren didn't see the point of keeping secrets anymore and just told them the truth, "Queen Mirellia showed me some crystal ball of that fake me. I knew I had to do something about it and got me and my team here as soon as possible."

"Glad to see my message got through." said a voice and it turned out to be from the cloaked figure.

Ren didn't know who this was but thankfully Councilor Frandon informed the hero of him, "Sir Ren this is Sir Beck, head of our spy corp."

"Beck you sent a message to Melromarc?" Andraw asked surprised by this revelation.

Beck nodded then continued, "Yes, before I was imprisoned I barely able managed to send out that crystal ball without any guards noticing, I knew that fake with Varden wasn't the real Sword hero and had to inform Mirellia Melromarc as soon as I could since she was in direct contact with Sir Ren. I knew it would've been risky but it was worth it in the end.".

Andraw sighed to himself as he thought about this whole thing, "I think I should soon give my gratitude to Miss Melromarc, we should rekindle diplomatic ties after this." he says then looks toward Father Colin and Sir Beck with a lot of guilt in his eyes, "I also give my gratitude to you two and the rest that I wronged who was truly on my side, I'm deeply sorry for imprisoning all of you as traitors."

Beck and Father Colin just smile and nod back, "We accept your apology, my lord, as long as the kingdom along with its ruler and family are safe that's what's important." Colin says.

Beck then spoke his mind, "Plus we are now rid of a lot of rotten nobles and merchants along with a corrupt church."

Andraw still let out a small sigh, "Even so I don't think apologies are enough for the rest I wrongfully imprisoned. I have to make it up to all of you somehow." he says then turns to the Sword hero once more, "But I can deal with that later, right now I want to reward the true Sword hero for what he has done. For your efforts, Ren Amaki you are being transferred all of Duke Varden's assets, estate, money, and slaves he had under him are all yours now. We'll also give each of your team their own separate rewards as well" he continued and signaled a servant to show Ren the documentation on all of Varden's estate and assets.

Ren read through it and was surprised to see how much this it all was. He'll just free all the slaves and transfer them to Mirso if they decide they want to go with him, but all the rest was pretty much all his now, any money troubles he had before coming to Zeltoble were now over, he can build whatever he needs for his town now.

The rest of his team saw that as well including Kiel, "This is great Sir Ren, we get all of that and along with all the money we won from the tournament."

"Tournament?" Andraw asked wondering what the wolf demi-human was referring to.

"Oh, it's nothing your majesty." Kiel nervously tried to backpaddle, the last thing she wanted the king to know was them participating in illegal underground arenas.

Andraw thankfully decided to not question it further, Linda then turned to Sadeena, "And from what we've been told miss Sadeena, you've been trying to acquire the slaves from former Lurolona village. Well along with your monetary reward, we will officially transfer the ownership of all the slaves from your village under your name, including the ones held by your former "sponsor"."

Sadeena smiled and bowed to the Councilor's wife, "Thank you so much your graces, you don't know how much this means to me." she thanked them.

Kiel and Raphtalia were also happy to hear this, "This is perfect, we finally get what was left of the town back together again."

Sadeena smiled back, "Indeed Raphtalia, though it will be interesting to see how much it has changed since the shield hero had took it over." she responds.

Councilor Frandon then looks toward Fohl, "And young sir Fohl, for your help as well. We shall grant yours and your sister's freedom from slavery, we'll compensate your master and grant you your monetary rewards as well.

It was a lot for the young white tiger demi-human to take in, he would be happy to hear all of that. Though he still looked a little disgruntled, "Thank you your grace but... nevermind." he then stopped himself. Ren could tell something was not right with Fohl and wanted to know more.

But before Ren can ask anything, Andraw then stood himself up from his chair, "I know this may be a sudden change of the subject, but I might as well announce it while all of you are here. But as of this day, I am abdicating the throne."

"What!?" almost the entire room expressed together.

His son Frandon was the most confused by this, "Father are you being serious about this?" he asked making sure his elder father hadn't lost his mind.

Andraw nods his head though, "Yes, what happened last night was the biggest eye-opener I've ever had. Not only did I feel completely useless despite being the nation's ruler, but the ones that I've trusted before turned out to have conspired behind my back and the ones I didn't were all innocent and were all on my side the whole time. My actions nearly lead to not only the possible destruction of the whole kingdom but to my whole family as well. I allowed Varden and his associates to manipulate me, I trusted Marc and his corrupt church to be holy, and I was led to believe that monster imposter was a cardinal hero. My mind isn't what it used to be and I allowed my own paranoia to get the better of me, I don't want to follow in the footsteps of the old staff hero. So I think it's time this old hunting dog finally retires and let the fresh young generation take its place."

Andraw then takes off his crown and turns over to his son Frandon as he points the crown to him, "Frandon, I want you to become this new nation's king."

Frandon was surprised about all of this but tried his best to maintain a straight face, "Are you sure Father?"

Andraw nods in approval, "Yes, you were the one to see through Varden's treachery along with Marc's true character, and you knew something was up from all the accusations from those I arrested including Father Colin and Beck. I know full well you'll make a better king than I will now."

It was a lot for the Councilor to take in, most wouldn't hesitate becoming the king, but even he knew full well of all the power and responsibilities it would imply. He remained silent for a few more seconds, and after looking behind his wife, Linda nodded yes in approval.

After that and thinking about it enough Councilor Frandon finally takes up the crown and places it on his head, "I accept the responsibility Father." he says to Andraw who then bows to his son.

The room clapped in applause to the supposed new king.

Father Colin then spoke up, "I fully approve of this. However under Zeltoble law it can't be official yet until a proper election of the merchant council is taken place which I don't see happening until after the waves of catastrophe are over. But you have my and the church's support and blessing. And I think no one else would object to you leading as regent in the meantime until the election starts which is supposed to happen anyway to you as the Councilor."

Frandon nodded to that, he knew well that he would just be regent for now, but this was still a grand change to now directly run the state, not on the sides as Councilor but full front and center as the King.

Andraw then stood up, "If you excuse me, Father Colin, Beck, and I now need to properly prepare for this announcement to the public and the Merchant Council. We may talk more later, thank you again Ren Amaki and the rest of you, I'll be sure Zeltoble won't forget this." he finished and he, Colin, and Beck had their way out of the room to plan out the official abdication.

Once they left the new country's regent Frandon sighed to himself, "Good lord, I didn't think this would happen so soon." he sighed somewhat worried if he was ready to be the true head of state.

Thankfully his son and wife was there to comfort him, "Remember that you won't be alone here, it was stressful for us at first before Ben was born, but look at him now. And now you show no worry of our second child coming its way." she said while rubbing her pregnant stomach.

Frandon smiles and then kisses his wife, "You're right, as long as we remain together we'll get through anything like we did last night." he says with Linda and even his son Ben nodding back.

Frandon then turned to the Sword hero, "Sir Ren, if you are not busy after all of this, the kingdom will have some growing pains for a little bit after my father's abdication and many other little problems are going on in the countryside, would you mind remaining here in Zeltoble for a little bit until everything settled and such problems have been dealt with? I'll be sure you are also compensated for all of it."

Ren for a few seconds about the Councilor's/regents' offer, while he may want the day off after what they have been through, afterward he wants to keep on getting himself stronger along with his team to fight the waves and eventually the phoenix guardian, he also wants to make sure the so-called 2 heroes church are properly dealt with and officially ostracized from the public and make sure any other blowback from what happened last night is properly minimized. Plus earning more money didn't hurt anyone even though he was loaded now, "Sure your Majesty, until Queen Mirellia contacts us back for anything I see no issue staying here to help for a week or 2." he responds then turns his head, "Do any of you guys have issues with this?" he asked his team.

All of them shook their heads no, "We'll follow you anywhere you want us to be at Sir Ren, I think doing this can help rekindle the bonds between Melromarc and Zeltoble that the Queen would no doubt approve." Eclair responds for the team who also had no objections to it either.

Raphtalia then turned her head to her aquatic friend, "Sadeena you can come with us too if you like." she offered the Orca demi-human.

Sadeena though shakes her head in disapproval, "I would love to help you guys, but I need to help gather the Lurolona slaves and make sure there are not any others out there still enslaved. Then safely take them home and properly protect them from any more dangers that I failed to do before. But I like to help you guys out once you make it back and all of that is done." she responds which Raphtalia understood, she can't imagine how much guilt her friend secretly had for not being there at the town in that moment. Sadeena then smiled seductively and got up really close to Ren, "I wouldn't mind going out for some drinks with you either sword hero. This time just as casual compatriots until we collapse drunk." she flirts with the poor sword hero who can only blush by how close the woman was coming onto him.

"Uhh.. maybe.. how about you help out the villagers first before thinking about drinking." Ren nervously tries to talk the woman down who thankfully did pull back.

"Good point, still there is nothing more fun than getting wasted after a hard day's work." Sadeena says as she moves away from Ren.

Eclair tried her best to not show it, but she did feel a bit jealous of how close Sadeena was getting with her hero.

After that little event Kiel then looked back to Fohl who still looked disgruntled, "Would you like to come with us Fohl, I'm sure Sir Ren wouldn't mind having another powerful fighter in his ranks." she asked, Ren himself didn't object to such a thing himself, he saw last night how strong Fohl was, despite how under level he was the white tiger kid still help him take down his imposter.

Fohl was silent for a few seconds to think about such an offer, even if he wasn't the shield hero, Ren was still one of the 4 cardinal heroes and had not only heard about all of his achievements since he first came including helping to kill the spirit Tortoise but he saw what he just did last night, he knew Ren was a true hero. There was one thing he couldn't stop thinking about though, "I would love to but.. but.. Sir Ren, can you still help me as promised? Please!"

Ren was surprised to see Fohl was acting like this but after a brief pause, he nodded his head, "Uh, ok. Is this about your sister? I thought she was being taken care of?" he asked the kid.

Fohl immediately said, "She has been, but even after being treated by the best doctors in the palace she is still very ill. The doctors say there isn't much they can do to help her at this point. They say she might.. she might... Can you please just help her, I'll trade my own freedom away if you can help her and become your slave." he requested of the sword hero.

After last night Ren was told more about Fohl's little ill sister who was also blinded now. It was sad to hear and to be given news that even the best doctors or healers can't do much to help her, it would sound soul-crushing to anyone, let alone her caring brother.

As much as he was not a specialist in this kind of 'questing', he knew he couldn't say no to someone who helped him last night. As well as that promise he made that allowed them to discover the slave revolt plot in the first place, they probably wouldn't have saved so many people if it wasn't for Fohl. Ren let out a light sigh, "Well I can't promise anything, but I'll try. But no need to trade your life to me you've done more then enough for me." he says to the kid.

"Thank you! Thank you so much!" Fohl thanked and got off his chair and he, Ren, his team, and even the Councilor/regent and his family followed him.

After some walking around the palace they made it to the infirmary, a large area of the palace where the doctors are housed to help treat the royal family and palace staff.

And in one of the beds was a poor white tiger demi-human girl, Fohl's sister Atla. The poor thing's head was covered up in bandages and looked to be near lifeless from her illness, "Big brother is that you?" Alta asked once she heard familiar footsteps near her bedside barely with enough strength to be heard by anyone there.

Fohl smiled as he rubbed his little sister's head, "Yes, it's me Atla. I have the cardinal sword hero with me, he'll try to help cure your illness." he comforted her, Fohl really hoped Ren could somehow help his little sister.

The young white tiger girl didn't know if her brother was being serious or was giving her false hope to make her feel better, but she then heard a different pair of steps different from her brother's or the nurses that had been treating her since the last night. This being the sword hero himself with his team and the royal family.

"Like I said I'll see what I can do." Ren says then looks down at the poor girl trying to analyze the situation. Her condition is mostly due to her illness which is making her HP lay barely on the edge. He knew full well a simple HP potion wouldn't be enough, since otherwise the nurses would've already given her one by now, this disease was something more advanced.

He tried looking at as many skills as he could to see if either he or any of his party had anything that could help the poor girl, unfortunately his team's healing potential was extremely limited, the closest they had to a healer was Rishia but she only knew spells to heal normal fight wounds and hp, she hasn't learned enough yet to heal advance disease's like this. This gave him a mental note to get her to learn advanced healing spells later.

Ren continued to stand there looking at his menu hoping to find something to help her, with Fohl looking more and more worried that the Sword hero may have nothing to help Atla.

The Sword hero can see it from his eyes and looks more disgruntled, feeling useless despite being a hero himself. He could fight mega beasts and crazed psychopaths but he can't heal a poor little girl like this, it made him yell a lot in his head, 'Come on damn it! I have to have something in here. Man if only Bakugou was here with his healing magic he could... wait.' he says in his head until he finally remembered something after thinking of the shield hero.

After some more maneuvering of his menu, he finally found what he was looking for. After tapping on his screen, out from his sword's gem was a green potion vial that the hero quickly grabbed.

"What is that?" Fohl asked with curiosity.

"An advanced healing and disease-curing potion, an elixir of Yggdrasil. Bakugou gave me a couple of them, it took me listening to a minute long rant of his on how much of an idiot I am to not focus anything on healing but it was worth it in the end." Ren responds as he grabs a seat to get near Atla.

"Bakugou? The shield hero?" Fohl said quietly to himself immediately recognizing that name.

After Ren took his seat, he carefully helped lift Atla's head up as the girl slowly drank the elixir. Rishia also in the background was using her magic to increase the potency of the potion, she may not match Bakugou's levels but she knew every little bit helps.

Eventually, Atla drank the last of the elixir as a glowing green aura appeared around herself, Ren was worried at first if this powerful potion did nothing but then from his menu he saw the girl's HP growing back up, no longer was it in the red, it was now becoming green again with many nasty modifiers of the disease disappearing as well.

Ren decided to lay her head back down and took a step away to give the girl some space.

Then from her own will Atla finally for so long lifted her back up from the bed completely surprising her brother. Atla began to move her arms around and flexed her bandage covered fingers, "I feel so warm, the pain is gone." she said her voice still weak but sounding better already.

Fohl couldn't believe it himself, but his once near to death sister was finally moving on her own again. It was something that made him so happy he even started shedding tears of joy. He lightly touched his sister's hands, "Oh Atla, it's a miracle. I was so worried about you." he expressed with so much emotion in his mind, it was hard for any other words to come out of his mouth.

"It's ok now brother. I'm all better." Atla says in comfort to her brother as she has enough strength to give him a light hug, which Fohl embraces as he gently hugs his sister while trying to hold back his tears.

Ren then said, "She may still need to take the elixir for a few more days until she fully recovers. I guess that's more incentive to stay here for a little while longer."

After Fohl finished hugging his sister he wiped the tears from his eyes and took on a more sterner and confident look as he placed his arm across his chest and kneeled before Ren, "You have mt eternal gratitude Sword hero, I'll now be glad to join your party and do whatever is needed to make mine and Atla's future brighter. I'll be your slave and servant, and do whatever you require of me."

"Thank you Fohl, I will be happy for you to join. But the slavery part isn't necessary." Ren agreed back. He truly didn't mind adding another party member, especially one who can potentially get so powerful. He also was secretly happy to have another guy on his team again with the rest of his party all being girls.

The rest of the team nods in agreement happy for more members as well, Kiel is especially taking a liking to the white tiger having someone other than Raphtalia to spar with.

The royal family was on the side happy to see such a miracle of an event happen before their eyes. Councilor and regent Frandon then approached them, "Well if you are looking for something to do now while you wait to give the girl her next dose, there have been reports of serious bandit activity up in the northern roads, we be glad if you can take care of them."

Ren nodded in agreement, "Sounds interesting and thanks to my fast travel I should be able to get back to herself instantly. You ready to get stronger Fohl?" he said then asked the white tiger kid.

"Yes Sir!" Fohl agreed.

Ren smiles back, he may need to give him armor and a proper weapon first, but he and his team were ready to go a few more adventures, continuing as the heroes of this world.

It was now nighttime back in Melromarc at a small town surrounded by a large forest. At the edge of it was a tavern with its bartender serving drinks to his various customers. And as he was serving he noticed one patron he had become familiar with as he smugly smiled toward her, "Well well, look who it is once again, the little former princess has come back with more of her friends."

And said patron was indeed Bitchwhore herself, the exiled fallen princess of Melromarc, now sporting old rags as clothing, still bald thanks to her curse along with her face still scarred from her own attack with her rusty old shield forced on her arm. She was also covered up with orange balloon monsters biting on her sides, her defense was high enough to not feel any damage but it still annoyed her nevertheless.

"Just give me the cheapest thing as usual idiot." she insults the man as he throws her a cup of his old cheap beer, she then guzzles it down.

Bitchwhore's life had been absolutely miserable since her exile from the castle and the various punishments being forced on her. Everyone now ridicules or insults her whenever they get the chance or even just throws rotten food at her. No one would help her and even if they wanted to it was against the law to do so, and she was refused any jobs or employment of any kind, her only means of income has been to kill enemies and sell their parts for whatever she can get. But due to her stats and having only her fists to do any damage she has only been able to kill the orange balloon monsters, when she tried anything else higher level it nearly killed her.

For weeks she has done nothing but punch balloons all day long, getting only a couple of coppers each day. She can't afford any tavern even the cheapest ones and was forced to sleep either in a cold damp alley or out in the equally cold woods with bugs everywhere both of the large and small varieties. The only thing she gets for free was for food, but unfortunately it's all made by the Spear hero who can't cook for crap.

At the end of the week, she had to go to a town center and a shadow of her mother's would deliver a week's worth's supply of food, she is then asked by them if she ate all of last week's supply. Thanks to the slave crest if she is caught lying and didn't eat the food the slave crest would go off shocking her and was forced to give up whatever money she earned that week. Even after the spear hero had been out of the kingdom for a bit due to the whole spirit tortoise thing he made a huge stockpile of food for her so it was not going to end anytime soon.

Bitchwhore knows this existence she lived now was basically a hell prison she has no chance of getting out of, with how little money she makes the evil former princess knew it was next to impossible to make up the 10,000 gold to free herself. Even by some miracle she does, it wouldn't change the fact she was out of the succession line and her little brat sister was going to be the future Queen all the while the damned Shield hero along with the Sword hero was now getting all the praise and glory from the people. And thanks to the slave crest she can't even curse their names anymore out loud. Any allies she had were all either arrested or on the run like Bitch and Bigger Bitch, and by the crest once again she can't get anywhere near the Spear hero to manipulate him anymore. The most she can do now is drown her sorrows with the cheapest alcohol she can find and hope one day a miracle will happen to save her from this fate.

Then to her surprise, she heard the tavern door open that got the attention of the entire building, it was the Bow hero himself Bow Bitch. He looked just as miserable as Bitchwhore was being on the run for a couple of days, dirty and wet in rags that included a hood, but thanks to his own curse he couldn't use it to cover his shaved head or his now recognized face.

The tavern was quiet now with everyone giving extremely nasty looks at the Bow hero who approached the bar, "Sir as a cardinal hero I need whatever room you have and food." he demanded rudely not even saying a simple please first.

The bartender though wasn't amused, "And why should I? What good have you or the Spear fool did for anyone?" he demanded from the bow.

"I brought justice to this stupid kingdom! I killed corrupt nobles! I helped defeat the waves! You owe me all that you have!" the bow hero shouted at the man.

The Bartender's response though was punching the Bow hero in the face sending the tumbling hero on the floor.

Despite his new black eye, Bow bitch got himself back up, "I'm a damn cardinal hero you idiots! I've done more to help all of you than anyone has ever done and this is the thanks I get!?" he yells out loud to the whole bar as the increasingly angry bar patrons continue to look madder at this brat hero.

One of them finally stood up, "Your help!? YOUR HELP!? To hell with you and the Spear help! You two are nothing more than devils in human clothing!"

"And who the hell are you!?" Bow Bitch demanded from the man.

"A former citizen of the Tortoise Kingdom!" after saying that the bow hero now looked less confident than before, the man of course continued, "My family was forced to flee our own home because you helped release the Spirit Tortoise! If it wasn't for the Sword and Shield heroes we would've been crushed! But my own parents, they lived on the outskirts of the capital, they died under the feet of that monster! They're dead because of you!" he yelled and scolded the bow hero.

The tavern patrons all started to get out of their seats staring down at the Bow hero, everyone had fury in their eyes not just the refugees of the tortoise kingdom but also from the Melromarc citizens themselves.

The bow hero though continued to defend myself, "That... that wasn't my fault the dumb turtle... he didn't die like he was supposed to and my team betrayed me! It wasn't my fault I-"*smash*

The bow hero was interrupted when one patron smashed a glass cup on his head, knocking him to the ground. And almost everyone in the tavern began to beat up the bow hero, punching and kicking him as much as they could with every one of them wanting a piece of the failed hero.

One however was just watching on with some intrigue, Bitchwhore herself as she calmly drank her cheap beer while watching the show. She may be barred from talking to the Spear hero, but there was nothing against talking to the Bow hero.

After a couple of minutes on this beat down, the tavern patrons had enough of the beaten bow hero and not only dragged him out of the building they finally threw him into a muddy pig pen. They laughed him off until they left back into the tavern again.

The beaten and muddy bow hero struggled to get himself out of the pig pen and back onto the road.

This isn't even the first time something like this happened, for days he visited multiple other towns for help or just simple food and shelter, but no matter where he went he was beaten up and chased out of each town while people threw things at him. His life was nothing but misery now.

At this point he finally began to cry, "It's not fair, it's just not fair!" he cried as he pounded the ground once in rage, "All I wanted to be was a hero, that was all I wanted to be! Why was I born with such weak powers!? Why can't anybody give me a chance!?" he cries some more as he not only thinks about this world, he thought about his old one.

His old world wasn't too much different from Katsuki's, his world had people with superpowers referred to as Esper's, they weren't as crazy as quirks or as common, but they were still superpowers one would only see out of comic books and there was enough of them to have entire school's dedicated to them with those that graduate from them potentially becoming superheroes themselves. Itsuki's own power was hyper accuracy it allowed him to be almost near perfect accurate with anything he used as a long-range weapon, not just with bows and arrows, but even guns as well.

In middle school he was the only Esper there which made him feel on top of the world, he was seen as the one with the greatest potential, to eventually become a superhero they all saw on TV. It was something even his loving mother was proud of.

But everything came crashing down when he finally started high school in an Esper academy. He was on top of the school hierarchy in middle school with his powers, but now he was in a school where everyone was an Esper, almost all of them having cooler, flasher, and more useful powers, he was nothing in comparison to them. There was even one guy who basically had the same powers as he did but was even better, so Itsuki wasn't even unique among his peers.

He was seen as a weakling with a loser power, everyone mocked and bullied him for it especially those with the stronger powers. Even those on the lesser end of the power scale didn't want anything to do with Itsuki with even their powers being better than his. Even if he did well enough when it came to normal classwork, in Esper tests he would usually end up in last place in all of them.

On a A-F grading scale he was labeled a grade E Esper, about as low as anyone can be, grade F's are pretty much the ones whose powers directly harm their users and most of them don't live long at all. And grade E doesn't last long in the Esper academy either, none would ever have the chance to become heroes. It made Itsuki feel sick that he never had a chance to make something of himself and knew it made his mother depressed as well.

At one point Itsuki gave up on even trying, he decided to just become a shut in and play video games all day especially his favorite, Dimension Web. There he can be what he can't be in reality, a hero. He can do the impossible, save the kingdom, defeat the demon god, and marry the girl. Even if it started to affect his normal school grades he didn't care about anything in the real world anymore. This ended up costing him his life though. He was forced to walk to school one day, but while he was walking on a road, he wasn't paying any attention to his surroundings. He was looking at his phone to read about a big expansion Dimension Web was about to get, and before he knew it, he was run over by an incoming garbage truck.

Just like that his life had ended, but rather than move on to the afterlife, he was spawned into a random dark room with 3 other individuals. He was resurrected in a new world. A world that looked so similar to Dimension Web

Itsuki thought this was his new chance in life, to make something of himself, he was now in his game where he could become the best hero this world had ever seen, and get all the fame and glory he deserved, saving the kingdom, defeating the waves, and marry the perfect girl. He didn't care if he had to share it with two others and a random loser with a shield, he'd be the one this world would remember

However like with Highschool it all crashed and burned once more, it all started when that "loser with a shield" bested him in Tervein as Bakugou protected the supposed corrupt king he was ordered to kill. After that it was all downhill, he was seen as a mockery, to be laughed and shunned at. He then had his chance to redeem himself by killing a super boss that was similar to the one he defeated multiple times before, instead he not only failed to kill it, everyone hated him even more than before, even his own team didn't really like him, jumping ship when it was convenient to them.

He was in the same position as he was in once before, only this time there was no way to escape from this reality.

"It's not fair! IT"S NOT FAIR!" the Bow hero cried some more as he lays sobbing on the ground, with no hope left in himself. He was now nothing, nothing to anyone anymore just like before he came here. He really is just a loser.

"It is truly unfair isn't it?" said a voice that surprised the bow hero, he looked up to see it was the former princess herself, now smirking toward the fallen hero.

Bow Bitch just looked annoyed, "What do you want from me? If you want to beat me up, go right ahead. You want to steal from me, I got nothing worth crap." he said expecting even her to be like everyone else.

Bitchwhore though just smiles and kneels herself to the Bow hero's level, "No, I know the feeling. To be the smartest and best around, only to be crushed over and over again by forces out of your control. It was something I had to endure since my birth. Both of us were screwed over by others who think they are better than you, my sister for me and you for the shield hero. Pushing us down in the mud while others point and laugh." she explains to the Bow hero who now started to look intrigued of what she said himself.

Bitchwhore then continued now getting his attention, "But we shouldn't let them continue to push us into the mud like this. You and I know we can do so much more than just endure this injustice to the both of us."

"But I.. But I can't, I don't have the power to do so." Bow hero says but then his head starts getting rubbed by the fallen princess as she smiles wider than ever.

"Nonsense, you have a weapon any man would sacrifice everything to get. You have more power and potential than any worthless peasant around here, they should see you as the god you are. So tell me Sir Itsuki, are you just going to let them mock and beat you up or are you going to show them who they should be bowing toward instead? Not as just as a hero, but as a living saint of justice!" she continued to encourage the Bow hero.

He looked toward Bitchwhore's chest and saw that her crest wasn't going off, so he knew full well she wasn't lying she was speaking the truth. Hearing that and knowing it was genuine made the hero start to stand himself back up again, "You're right these idiots wouldn't know what responsibility I hold in this world. I was chosen by the bow itself to come to this world to be its wielder, it knows that I am the true arbiter of what is right and wrong in this corrupt world."

Bitchwhore smiles wider and wider knowing she has her catch hooked up to her pole now and was ready to keep it up, "Yes, why let this corrupt Queen insult you, to mark you as a criminal! We need to end this injustice, and show them who are the real criminals here! We need to rise up from the ashes and be reborn like a mighty Phoenix and show the world who we really are!"

And with that the Bow hero finally smiles again with a very arrogant smirk, "Yes, yes, YES! You're right! We need to force this world back in its place! To know who this world has chosen to fight its injustices! And if no one sees me as its hero, then it's time I become its villain! A villain who will rule this world and make it how I want to see it! No more bullies, no more insults, no more injustice! IT'S TIME FOR THIS TO PHOENIX TO RISE!"

After that speech he felt reborn, now full of pride and arrogance, no longer caring what others say, to him only his way matters along with those that follow suit to his way like the fallen princess next to himself.

He then noticed his interface menu was glitching up, showing some yellow static electricity coming at the edges, he then saw some words pop up on the screen:

*d0 y0u s33k PoWeR?*

"Yes, yes I do." the Bow hero answers to the message.

*D0 y0u B3Li3Ve y0U Ar3 B3tt3R tH3N anY0n3 3Ls3?*

"Yes I am the best there is and no one else can compare to me!" he responds again.

Like with Bakugou's menu once before, the Bow hero's menu screen turns dark, but this time a dark yellow as opposed to red, his skill icons flipped over and turned dark yellow as well had yellow sparks and glitching static occurring all over his menu screen.

And with that a new skill tree appeared: *Series unlocked: Bow of Pride*

After embracing this new series, the bow hero's weapon transformed, becoming more demonic and cursed with a miasma of pride corruption exerting from its gem core.

This pride had quickly consumed the Bow hero's own body, with his eyes now a glowing dark yellow.

Bitchwhore wasn't planning for this to happen but was happy to see it. She can feel the energy coming from the corrupted Bow hero felt similar to when the Shield hero was fully corrupted by his wrath shield where he was at his most powerful against the Pope. And now Itsuki has a similar power, "You feel better Lord Itsuki?" she asked anyway.

The Bow hero turns back with a smirk, "Oh I'm better than ever. Nobody can compare to me now. I'm the greatest in the world!" he shouted with his voice already changing with his corruption.

Bitchwhore smiles to this and raised her hand out, "So then, will you work for me to avenge the injustice Melromarc has placed on you as it did for me, and then make you the most powerful of all Melromarc and eventually the world?" she proposes as she reached her hand out to the corrupted hero.

The Bow hero didn't hesitate and quickly shook her hand, "Of course, I think a grand alliance has formed today." he agreed and after he finished shaking her hand he noticed an ability he gained from his new skill menu. He smiled liking what he was seeing and prepared his bow and pointed to Bitchwhore, "Stand there for just a second, this will help our alliance out." he responds but before Bitchwhore could think the bow hero lets go of his bowstring and fires a magic arrow on the fallen princess's chest.

Bitchwhore didn't know what that was at first, but it wasn't an attack as she didn't feel any pain from that. On her chest though she quickly noticed what the arrow was doing. Her slave crest was consumed by the energy of that arrow attack until the purple ink turned to gold, and then after a few more seconds the crest burst apart and disappeared.

Bitchwhore didn't know if what has happened was what she think it was and wanted to test it out first, "This power, it's far more interesting than the shield devil's power." she said out loud, and despite her throwing his insult name out she wasn't being electrocuted anymore. She quickly knew from there that the corrupted Bow hero had broken the slave crest and freed her from her enslavement. Bitchwhore was more excited than ever before, "Yes! YES! Now nothing will stop us now!" she cheered and even kissed the Bow hero on the lips directly making the corrupt hero smile even more.

"Just as I wanted, now what plan do you have to screw over that bitch tyrant mother of yours?" he said and asked.

Bitchwhore pondered that for a moment, "I don't really know yet, we have to gather some information first, hopefully it won't take too long for me to think of a plan while you also learn more about this newfound power of yours. However, I know we are going to also need some muscle to help us out with our plots. And I know just the dumb muscle we need, we just have to find that idiot first."

And right after that statement as if some god answered her, she and the bow hero heard a loud sound coming from a building down the street. It was the local adventurer's guild building where they saw the door finally opening up, where they witnessed a pathetic schmuck being thrown out of into the muddy road. And that pathetic schmuck was none other than the Spear hero himself, also covered in dirty rags and looked absolutely miserable.

"Ha, it looks like the heavens have favored us today, follow me." Bitchwhore laughed as she heads her way down the road with her corrupted hero following suit.

Back down the road a starving and sleepless Spear hero struggled to get himself up, "Please! Please can anyone just help me here? I just need someone to be kind to me please!" he bagged toward the people inside the adventurers guild building. Since being brutally rejected by his old party he had been forced to roam around town to town hoping for someone to help him out, but in each town he visited he was yelled at and sometimes literally thrown out of. He has barely eaten anything or slept from all of that time.

The bouncer of the building wasn't sympathetic to the hero, then the leader of the local area's guild emerged from the door, who was also a woman, "As we told you, this guild does not allow criminals and murderers in its ranks, We protect all its members, men, and women alike. And we know full well you be a big threat to the latter."

The Spear hero was confused by her statement, "Mur.. murderer? What are you even talking about?" he asked while struggling to stay up with his spear being used as a crutch.

"Everyone knows about what you did, you helped release the Spirit Tortoise and killed many good people. Their lives are on your hands, dirty bloody hands we want nothing to do with. We also know what you allowed to happen to that poor girl Rino, nearly allowed her to be taken by slavers. So go cry and piss yourself in some other town now!" the local guild leader explained and finished as she and the bouncer goes back inside after slamming the door.

"WAIT PLEASE!" he cried trying to move but just tripped himself and landed in the mud again, "I... I didn't mean for anyone to die... I just wanted to be a hero and have someone who loves me to be on my side." he cried but there was no one there to hear him anymore.

The Spear hero then started yelling out angrily and shouting, "PIGS! FILTHY DIRTY GREEDY PIGS! I WILL... I will... Oh, will nobody love me." he then stopped and finally burst into tears and started crying on the ground.

Everything seemed to have just gone wrong for him, he lost his dignity, his girlfriends, and any respect he had from the people. Everyone especially the women now hates him and sees him as nothing more than a menace to this kingdom.

It used to not always be like this, back in his old world, he was in college with his well-off parents paying the bills to learn and live there in the dorms. He was seen as one of the best and popular guys on campus. So many girls would do anything to just date him and he just loved it all. In his free time, he would play his favorite PC game Emerald online where he can be admired and loved by so many of its NPCs, especially the hot women.

Eventually, he picked one shy and quiet girl named Momiji to date for real, it was fun for a good while. Then he met another girl named Ikuyo who was more of the bossy type that piqued his interest, and without telling Momiji he secretly dated a second girl. This secret double relationship would last for a few months but eventually the two girls figured it out themselves and confronted Motoyasu over the whole thing. They both loved and were obsessed with him but were not big on the idea of a polygamous relationship. Motoyasu tried to downplay the whole thing as not a big deal and told them he'd eventually figure this whole situation out.

However, both girls became extreme yandere over Motoyasu with neither liking the idea of him choosing one and abandoning the other. This obsession culminated to its most extreme one night when Motoyasu went into his dormitory room and found the two girls there as well, with knives.

He tried to calm down the two, but their minds had become so warped with their obsession with him that they were no longer even listening to what he had to say. Unwilling to fight back against them, he gets stabbed over and over again by the two with blood all over.

Once Motoyasu had enough stab wounds the two girls slit both their throats killing themselves, they were both on the assumption they were all going to head for the afterlife with Motoyasu coming with them where they can spend an eternity together.

However, once Motoyasu fully died from blood loss and organ failure, rather than move on to the afterlife he was alive again but this time in a new world with 3 other individuals. Like Itsuki, he figured he was reborn into his favorite video game that he could now play out with all the beautiful girls in it.

And yes the girls at the time seemed to be just as wonderful as they were in the games especially Myne. He may have gained a fear of yandere after what happened to his last life but as far as he was concerned all women were angels, ones he can defend from the likes of evil bastards like Bakugou. He can live in this new world with his harem as the greatest hero this world has seen.

Unfortunately for him that dream soon crashed and burned, after his humiliating duel with Bakugou he became the laughingstock of the entire kingdom, no one would take him seriously or just make fun of him. He tried all he could to redeem his name as a great hero, but no matter what he did people look up to Bakugou as a hero, a rapist over him. Even his lacky Ren was looked up to more than he was.

When he was made aware of the Spirt Tortoise, he figured he could finally fully redeem himself from killing the super boss he killed many times before. But like before, it all backfired, and now everyone just flat-out hates him.

But even through all of that, he could ignore the name-calling and be described as a demon, all of that was nothing if he had his girls beside him. But Myne and Rino were taken away from him, and Elena and Lusty never loved him to begin with. He was just used as a tool to be taken advantage of and thrown away when he had become useless.

To him that is why every tavern or adventurers guild he went to keeps kicking him out, and why none of the girl warriors or mages want anything to do with him. They just care about getting the benefits of being with a cardinal hero, they would never love him as a person. It saddened but also disgusted Motoyasu at the same time, now just thinking about almost every girl he'd seen before now disgusted him. They were all revolting, "Pigs, that's all they are. Dirty filthy pigs! I'll never know love again." he cries once more. He starts thinking if this was actually hell and all the pig women were demons. Tormenting him, mocking him. He was now in a deep depression that he figure will never end and he would just have to live with it forever.

"Oh poor Motoyasu, there is someone here who loves you." said a soft familiar voice that made the spear hero look up, and there he saw Bitchwhore herself kneeling down to his level with Itsuki standing beside her.

"My... Myne?" he expressed, even with half her face burnt and her lack of hair, he recognized this archangel from anywhere. Even with all the deformities she had now, he still saw her as the most beautiful woman he's ever seen, with this beauty being boosted times 100 now seeing all other women as pigs.

Bitchwhore knows she has his attention now and continued reeling her catch, "Yes sir Motoyasu, I'm so sorry for everything you've had to suffer from, we have all been through a lot." she then grasped her hands to his, "But now we can be together again, to help right all the wrongs against us. No matter what anyone else will say to us, we will be together forever and show the world who is its true hero is with there true Queen beside him."

The Spear hero was feeling so much emotion, and any rational thought he could be thinking about was gone. He finally is with someone who truly cares for him, and it was with the woman who never betrayed him, the one he always defended from injustice. Was she truly the one, the one he could truly love forever?, "Myne is.. is this all true?" he asked hoping this wasn't any kind of mind trick.

"Of course, just look. My crest hasn't gone off at all. What I told you was nothing but the truth." She lied as she showed off the top of her chest to prove it to the Spear hero who was completely ignorant of the bow hero breaking it prior.

But without that knowledge he fully believed in Bitchwhore's lie. Now thinking this was all genuine, his sorrow had transformed, transformed into happiness and love. He begins to cry again, but this time they were of tears of joy and immediately hugs Bitchwhore, "Oh thank you Myne! Thank you! I knew our love was more than just as teammates! You are the one, my archangel from Heaven!" he continues crying, while Bitchwhore smugly smiled behind his back with the Bow hero doing the same knowing what she was doing with this idiot.

After finishing their hug Bitchwhore then looks back at the Spear hero, "Motoyasu, forget what my corrupt mother has told you. Forget what my mind controled sister says. And forget about those bastards like Bakugou and Ren! Let us join together again along with Lord Itsuki, let us work together to end this division on our love and show the world that we are its heroes and nothing can stop us!" she chants to the Spear hero to manipulate the college kid more than ever.

Now gripping his weapon hard the Spear hard raises up back on his feet more confident than ever before, "Yes Myne! YES! Let us show the world our true love and never let anything get in between us!" he shouts to the sky now with a large smile on his face gaining a new purpose in life. Feeling great lust over her, more so than any other girl before, his desire for the perfect woman was now completed.

And like with the Bow Hero before, his menu screen turns dark, now as a dark purple, his skill tree transformed with purple sparks and a glitching static appearing all over as he finally gets the message:

*d0 y0u s33k PoWeR?*

"Yes, I want all the power to protect Myne"

*wI11 Y0u AlwaY's D3sRiE tH3 0nE Y0u L0v3?*

"Yes, my love for Myne will never end, I will always be with my archangel!" he yells to the sky again.

And with that his own new skill tree appeared: *Series unlocked: Spear of Lust*

And with this embrace, his lust cursed consumed his body and soul, with his spear transforming into its corrupted form and the Spear hero's eyes now turning into a glowing bright Purple.

Bitchwhore loved what she was seeing, "Are you fine now Sir Motoyasu?" she asked him

"More than ever before my archangel. I will follow you to the ends of the earth and do what needs to be done as your protector and enforcer! My soul is yours now my Queen." he responds with his voice altered as well as he kneels toward Bitchwhore.

The corrupt Bow hero was happy to see this dummy to be on their side now and turned to his partner, "So what now?" he asked her.

Bitchwhore sinisterly smiles as she signaled the corrupted Spear hero to rise up again, "As of now I have no plan, but I'm sure to come up with one soon. And with you two on my side, now awakened in your most powerful forms we'll be able to accomplish anything." she tells them, and then turns away and walks down toward a road out of town.

And as she walked the corrupted Spear and Bow heroes followed her.

Bitchwhore knew that her time will come, with her new now more powerful attack dogs. She'll get her revenge for those that tried to screw her over and take back her birthright. She then said out loud, "All hail to the Queen.".

Author's note:

A bit strange to finally have a chapter that lacks our favorite explosion boy. But I always wanted to give Ren his own chapter of being hero on his own. Maybe I've made it more convoluted then necessary but I'm still happy enough to finally get to it in the end.

Of course as soon as I started writing this chapter they announced a new My Hero movie with what looks to be an evil All Might imposter, I swear I was developing this idea long before they announced that movie.

I have to also say coming up with decent sounding fantasy names that don't sound stupid, to similar to another name, or too modern is a lot hard then it sounds, I renamed the Councilor like five times while writing this and I not sure if I'm even fully satisfied with the current one, but whatever its just a name in a fantasy world.

Never realized it until now that I basically gave Ren Naofumi's entire party from the original plus Eclair and Farrie, it wasn't intentional but I found it funny I ended up setting Ren's party that way.

Thank you again for reading, and next time we will be getting back with explosion boy and his sidekicks in the other world.