Editor: sleepchaser, Katie_WanderingFujoshi
The moment I first laid eyes on him, I had thought he was some kind of magical weapon.
His magic proficiency and skill in the sword were awe-inspiring, by far the most impressive I had ever seen. His appearance was otherworldly in its beauty, a face so expressionless, giving off the impression he would not bat an eyelid at anything.
The other three people accompanying him to the demons’ territory wouldn’t be his match even if we grouped up against him. Just that was enough to convince me of the chasm between our abilities.
If not a magical weapon, then was he an oracle of God?
Did He send us an iceberg of a creature to destroy the Demon King?
But my perception of Allen, the hero, also referred to as the Icy Hero, changed gradually over the course of our long journey.
There were moments when his icy expression would melt a hint.
It was usually whenever he caught a glimpse of an average-looking child with brown hair and brown eyes.
After he saw such a child, his stiff eyebrows would relax a shade, eyelids drooping. Those eyes would glaze over like he was looking at something dazzling, but also as if he were staring at something not present.
And at the Demon King’s Fortress, I realized what that something was.
A demon intercepted us before we could encounter the Demon King. The moment that demon spoke, Allen’s expression twisted.
His eyes grew hollow and froze over in anger. His cheeks paled from fury, magic raging into a turbulent storm around him.
“So it’s you?”
“I see. This one can surely be a threat. Back then, that child I had encountered seemed too weak to be a hero. Never had I imagined he had merely been a substitute… However, I also made sure I had killed everyone in that insignificant village. So, where exactly did you hide?”
“Well, it doesn’t matter. The hero survived by using his friend as a substitute, and now he’s come for revenge? How great, you really make the most tear-jerking of stories!”
“Come on, just lend me an ear for a while. Let me tell you the last moments of that pathetic boy who protected you! Do you know how he looked when I littered his body with slashes? Even though he was unworthy of the Holy Sword, he still used it, gritting through the pain. But do you know what he said after I blasted a hole through his chest? ‘The heck with the hero.’ Pft, he must have had a grudge against you!”
“Shut that filthy mouth!” shouted Allen. At that moment, the wind around him died down—no. He was collecting it in a hand.
He stared at the demon, cold enough to freeze. The wind whipped against the demon, leaving a plethora of cuts upon its wake.
And then it pierced through the demon’s shoulder.
“…Don’t worry. I won’t kill you immediately.”
Tormenting someone to their death must look something like this.
Allen’s actions were so gruesome that the priest thew up again and again.
With the use of his ice magic, Allen impaled the demon full of holes. His Holy Sword left gaping gashes upon its flesh.
Then he healed its fatal wounds before mutilating it again. Rinse and repeat.
Shadows filled Allen’s hollow eyes, his entire body stained red… The current Allen was more of a threat than the Demon King waiting inside.
The sight before my eyes led me to the following thought: if I left him alone, he might become the next Demon King.
“Allen! Stop it already!”
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
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“Allen wouldn’t do something like this.”
Face as white as a sheet, he collapsed just like that. We decided to rest in the middle of the enemy’s stronghold. All the while, Allen’s whimpers of “Don’t go,” and “Please don’t leave me” weighed heavily on us.
“The hero’s real name is Riley. Allen is the name of his childhood friend. Sixteen years ago, he died in Tobol village.”
“…Did he die from a hole through his chest?”
“Ah, yes, yes. Anyway, why do you want to hear this? Isn’t there anything else you want to ask me?”
Although I was still dubious about everything, I had realized something as I listened to Ilya.
The hero had a childhood friend who had brown hair and eyes. He died in the hero’s stead.
His words, “Not Allen,” most likely meant just that. He was not Allen.
However, I couldn’t determine what that had to do with Ilya.
This boy was only sixteen years old. He was born and raised in the royal capital, so I can’t wrap my head around why he would know about the hero’s tragic past.
Perhaps discerning my confusion, Ilya said with hesitance, “After that… Ah, how should I put it? I also find it utterly unbelievable, but… I’m the reincarnation of that Allen.”
“Yeah. I guess it’s more like I was born with Allen’s memories. To be honest, I don’t really know which part of me is Allen and which is Ilya. The line between them is very vague,” he said, shrugging.
I asked Ilya to give me a second, pressing on my throbbing temples.
It would be easy to cut him off. To tell him not to weave such a ridiculous lie. But Ilya’s honest stare gave me second thoughts.
I recalled the condition of the hero seven days ago.
He had stopped in his tracks as I had read the menu aloud in a relaxed manner. Ever since then, he had thrown Ilya concerned glances from afar, but I ignored it, thinking it was just because the waiter was young.
And as soon as he had drunk that soup, tears spilled from his eyes, a stark contrast with his expressionless face. I grew flustered at that sight.
After all, he was the hero.
The man who was calm in the face of everything. The man who didn’t bat an eyelid no matter the reward. No matter what words of gratitude any beauty offered.
Referred to as the “Icy Hero,” he only revealed emotions when tormenting that demon.
That’s why, I didn’t expect him to shed tears so pitifully.
“…What’s that soup? And what did you say to the hero a week ago?”
“Ah, that’s something I used to make at the orphanage when I was Allen. Well, we used vegetable scraps worse than the ones we serve here.” He placed a hand to his chin. “Hmm. What did I say to him again? I think I said his name and told him not to cry.”
So that’s why he reacted like that.
Suddenly believing in a concept like reincarnation was difficult, but this was too much of a coincidence.
Ilya knew the taste of Allen’s hometown―no, was it Riley? He had used this name that none of us traveling companions had known of.
Those things must be something only the two involved parties should know.
Maybe that’s why Riley believed that Ilya was Allen’s reincarnation.
It was hard to swallow. But there was also no basis to deny it yet.
The possibility that Ilya had investigated this to get closer to Riley couldn’t be completely ruled out. But if so, his lie wouldn’t be as shoddy as this.
And Ilya’s eyes shone with honesty.
“Can I ask you a few questions?”
“Why did Allen take Riley’s place in the battle? Wasn’t his life more valuable than that? He suffered immensely, right? If he confessed that he wasn’t the hero, he might’ve been spared. Since he even reproached Riley during his final moments, he could just tell the demon where Riley was hiding.”
“Wait, wait, wait. What reproach? What are you talking about?” Ilya tilted his head, the picture of puzzlement.
Smooth, brown locks fell to the side, exposing a thin, white neck. Such a neck had a touch of femininity, captivating me, and a chill ran down my spine in an instant.
If someone harmed this fragile boy, wouldn’t they end up dying like that demon?
I couldn’t stop myself from imagining this. Fighting back goosebumps, I recalled our encounter with the demon at the Demon King’s Castle. The many words it had hurled at us.
Although I covered up most of Riley’s brutal actions, Ilya seemed to guess them anyway.
After I had relayed Riley’s words of “Allen wouldn’t do something like this,” Ilya smiled. But it was too heart-rending of a smile for a sixteen-year-old.
“I wanted to save Riley. That’s it. I honestly don’t remember saying, ‘The heck with the hero,’ but… I understand why I would say that.”
“…Just as I had expected, Allen resented—”
“Hey, can you believe that Riley used to be really obedient when he was young? The kind of person who’d even endure being bullied?”
“You don’t, right? But it’s true. He was kind and hated fighting. He was not suited to be the hero at all… That’s why, I’ve often wondered who decided who the hero would be. Or why Riley had to fight.”
But, we were the ones who made Riley the hero, right?
Those words were terribly heavy. They weighed me down, causing me to freeze on the spot.
I excused myself and left without knowing how I should reply to him.
In the cold spring night, a chill ran through my body, piercing even my heart.
I waited until dawn drew near before heading for Sir Kenneth’s residence.
He had already retired. However, he had climbed to the top of the Knights order. No one in the Knights Order was unaware that Sir Kenneth had guided Hero Allen.
He retired when he hadn’t reached his limit yet. As such, he now trained the juniors to the best of his ability.
That his retirement started after Riley departed on his journey might not have been a coincidence.
“Oh my. What urgent business does the Master Swordsman have to visit me so early?”
“I apologize for paying a visit so suddenly. I’d like to request a bit of information… It’s about Allen and Riley.”
I bowed deeply to the kind hearted man. A man who hadn’t changed one bit even after being middle aged.
Naturally, his gentle smile fell into this category. He merely scrutinized me, and I stared straight back at him.
It was discomfiting to be at the receiving end of that gaze. A situation opposite to what I had experienced yesterday.
“Where did you hear about them?”
“I can only tell you that it’s not from Riley… Sorry, but I hope you can tell me without any prejudice.”
Sir Kenneth nodded and gently tapped his pipe, spilling the ashes to the ground.
As he watched as the smoke slowly rose from the pipe resting between his fingers, he fell into his memories.
“After hearing from the temple that the hero resided in Tobol village’s orphanage, I led two platoons there.”
Tobol village. A small village in a remote region.
It was destitute to the point that they had been in desperate need of reducing the number of mouths to feed. Even the children in the orphanage did nothing but work all day. If not, they couldn’t eat.
His mission had simply been to retrieve the hero and return.
The difficulty of the mission was due to the contents of the prophecy from the “Oracle.” Only a few people of relevance knew of their existence, including Sir Kenneth.
“The temple said that ‘the blond and red-eyed Hero Allen resides in an orphanage in Tobol village.’ After arriving at the village, I discovered two kids that fit the description: the blond and red-eyed Riley and a brown-haired Allen.”
Sir Kenneth arched a brow, asking if I understood the implications.
… I did. Yes, I finally understood. The horrific implications of the prophecy.
Since Riley had been the one to pull out the Holy Sword, logic dictated he should be the hero. However, the Oracle had uttered the words “Hero Allen.”
What this signified was…
Unless Tobol village was attacked, Hero Allen wouldn’t be born.
No, that’s wrong.
Hero Allen was born because Allen had died…
And Riley’s deep sorrow from losing his beloved childhood friend was born with it.
“I had trained them partly because of Allen’s request. He was a sunny and open-hearted boy. The exact opposite of the quiet Riley. He was kind, heroic… and forced to face the demon alone… Even though his corpse had been a gruesome mess, his face was very peaceful.”
Smoke rose gradually from his pipe, gray curling around us.
The look in his eyes was far away. He was surely watching Allen through the harsh whispers of time. Wrinkles marred the corners of his eyes, and he gently squinted.
“I still don’t like the ‘Hero’ title… I’m sure Riley feels the same.”
Although Sir Kenneth smiled as he had spoken, his words were saturated with sorrow.
The cruel truth about the title of “hero”… Do all of the heroes truly wish to become a hero? Riley never want to become one, but now he becomes someone he truly doesn’t want to be, the reason why the demon killed Allen. Now that Elmer knows the full story, will he help Ilya to make Riley happy again? (๑>ᴗ<๑)
Support the author! Here’s the tutorial made by “Shido Within” on how to buy digital books at CMOA. The tutorial specifies on how to buy digital manga, but I think it should work for novels too. After registering, you can click here to go to Icy’s CMOA page. Apparently, you can also buy this book at Bookwalker Japan! You’ll need to create a Bookwalker Global account first, then connect to VPN before clicking here to go to Icy’s Bookwalker page (or you can go there from the RAW Page on Icy’s ToC!). Here’s the guide on how to purchase books on Bookwalker JP Store! After purchasing, you can turn of the VPN and download to read the book on any device! (Thank you Shadow-san for telling me about this! ˭̡̞(◞⁎˃ᆺ˂)◞*✰) The difference is that if you’re using CMOA, you need to pay using your credit card, but with Bookwalker, you can pay using PayPal! Very efficient!
Support the translator! How about buying this translator a cup of bubble tea to boost her motivation and power (to defeat the wall of text!)? As a small thank you, you can read one advanced draft chapter of Icy ahead from schedule! Next chapter will be from Ilya’s POV with a little bit push in Riley and Ilya’s relationship~ 《《o(≧◇≦)o》》 Very excited!!!
Next chapter will (hopefully) come out at Monday! ₍₍ ◝(●˙꒳˙●)◜ ₎₎ Please look forward to it~