Crossover Fan Fiction ❯ Ranting of a Shield Hero(ine) ❯ Ranting: Chapter 2 ( Chapter 2 )

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Chapter Two

“Shield Hero!” called out a messenger. Some guy with a horse had ridden into the Lute village where Iw as bargaining with a trader over the price of some pelts. After a while the mayor was pointing in the messenger in my direction. He was probably from that royal inbred city that looked like a layer cake wrapped in open sewers. All those towers would fall in the first earthquake, and were about as defensive as a picket fence. Maybe less. It made me strangely nostalgic for Voyager, my old curry restaurant, even if the head chef was gay and kept groping my coworker on the butt. At least he wasn’t groping me, but my female charms didn’t work on him, more’s the pity, and he’s promised to fire me before my first and only radio broadcast. Or was it my second? It was my second. The first one was a tape, mostly, but he threatened to fire me for that time too.

Did you know my name is either a combination of my father’s lovers names, while mom was pregnant, which would explain why she divorced him, or is the Ainu phrase for “make people laugh”. I know people always asked, but my hair isn’t from a bottle. I just tell people that. Blonde hair and blue eyed Japanese only exist in Hokkaido, or near American air force bases, and only because that’s where the Ainu live. I’m a throwback. Recessive genes. Nobody notices that here, but in Sapporo people just assume I’m a bottle blonde and figure I’m what happens to a Yankee with no prospects… which isn’t really that wrong. I keep screwing up. I have the worst luck, especially with men. And I keep falling for their lies because I have needs, dammitall!

“Shield Hero. The king orders you appear at the castle to fight the Wave!”

“Is the Wave coming to the castle?” I asked in hope. My expression seemed to dim the messenger’s spirits quite a bit.

“No. That’s where the Dragon Clock is. The other heroes are meeting there.”

“Oh, well no thanks. I’m fine here. Have fun with that,” I said and shooed him away. He was taken aback and stared at me.

“But you.. you HAVE TO. You’re the Shield Hero!” he finally exclaimed.

“Ehh? So? Did you know those other guys are gay? And that one with the bow is a raging psychopath. I don’t want to be anywhere NEAR them. If you’re counting on them, you’re doomed. Totally doomed.”

“But all the heroes have to work together to save the kingdom,” he said, repeating a story he’d probably heard since childhood.

“Why?” I asked. I waited. He was apoplectic at this point.

“Buh… buh.. because! Because! That’s what heroes are for!”

“Not the Shield Hero. I read one of the books about the last ones. The king always betrays them, accuses them of crimes, and cripples their ability to defend the other heroes, which then results in the waves wiping them out. Every group of heroes has died, every time, but the fifth wave. Of all the Heroes, ONLY the Shield Hero has ever cared about your poor people, the villages outside the Capitol. The Spear and Sword and Bow are lackeys to your king, and he always gets them killed. Each batch of them seems to be worse than the last, and the original ones lasted until the tenth wave. The last group died in the fifth. So why would I go to a place to serve a king that absolutely wants me dead? Well? Ask your king that. I’m staying here.” And I turned away and got back to my business.

Naturally, a day later the sky went green and purple and flying monkeys and giant wasps the size of Sea Eagles started falling out the sky. If they had been falling fast this would have been a problem that solved itself, mores the pity, but unfortunately they fell slow. And landed gently like an invading army of orcs. Most of them were undead, at least, so smiting them and the bigger Ogres wearing armor that conveniently didn’t cover their vitals was a huge help for Raphtalia while I shielded the cowering villagers of Lute. The perked up more and after a few minutes found torches and pitchforks to pin down the undead and light them on fire, which is a pretty effective way to get rid of a greasy slimy walking corpse. As we all finished them of, with frequent uses of “Area Heal!” I shouted using my shield to help, we had lost no villagers and some knights in plate armor showed up, to late to be of use. The one with the big mustache whose name I completely ignored tried to tell everyone how brave he was. His men looked at him and I think if grenades had been invented here, this officer would be finding one in his tent tonight.

I’m not shy about wanting to kill men who annoy me. It was my threat which put me here, I’m pretty sure. The Kami were punishing my dirty mouth, damn them all, the dirty glowing gods. I’m sure it was all about me, and totally not random chance just because I don’t care about gaming once I discovered boys. I’m sure it’s not that. This officer was a piece of gomi, walking garbage. I felt bad about the guy who followed him, then I felt annoyed that they hadn’t caused this jerk a big fatal accident to prevent him killing them all and claiming a victory. He may as well have been Shinzo Abe, taking credit for the economy while most of the population were struggling to find work and couldn’t buy houses in the modern economy, and it had been that way since 1989 when the American movie came out warning them about how devious and powerful Zaibatsu were, exactly when the economy here crashed and the zaibatsu’s fell apart for good. No more cradle to grave employment. No more escalator jobs. It was long dead, 30 years now. And this moron was getting in her face and trying to claim he’d killed all the ogres and wanted to show them off at the palace. I looked around at the villagers and figure that if tell Raphtalia to kill this guy these poor people would get blamed.

“Hey, what’s that behind you?” I said, grinning. He snarled. The ogre, one that had crept out of the shadows used his 10 foot long mace to turn the commander into a very flat can of man-tuna. The rest of his men whirled and defeated the beast.

“I did warn him. Not much for combat, was he?” I said, polishing my nails and picking off some bits of clown chunks. Gross. Kimoi!

“Well, want to come back with us to the palace and collect your reward?” asked the second in command, a handsome fellow with a sword scar across the bridge of his nose that just missed his eyes.

“Meh. No thanks. I didn’t like your king very much. I doubt its worth the trouble. I want to help the villagers. That’s more important.”

I heard later, via gossip in the tavern a few days later, that the rapist with the spear had challenged one of the nobles to a duel over some perceived slight after the wicked princess, who had a terrible reputation with the poor as some kind of slut-whore monster, the princess had whispered in his ear. Considering she’d claimed to have been raped by him in the first place, it was HELLA shady. He totally killed the noble and was in even more dirt with the king and they wanted to throw him in jail, but he needed to keep out and training to fight monsters, but now absolutely everybody was scared of him and he was getting doors shut in his face and city guard escorted him out of town, maybe for good. I hope he doesn’t come here. All because that gross princess played with his mind, the weak boy. Probably revenge because he was gay. I wonder if that means the rape story was a lie?

I’d known women like that, or known of them. That kind of stuff was what happened with the truly wicked bad girls in high school grew up to cause trouble and watch the result. It was the only thing they liked doing. Most end up getting stabbed to death because they try it on the girlfriend of a yakuza and well… that’s a Darwin Award right there. Those Anesans with all the arm tattoos? They are hard core brutal. I used to work for one at that family restaurant. She had crew from her gang outside, make a phone call about a rude customer leaving, guy would be found unconscious in the snow, empty wallet, and maybe no teeth. I mean.. they had it coming. She was an Anesan. It wasn’t like she was hiding it, right? I never saw her work though. She ate a lot of food though, restaurant food. And Parfaits.

She had some kind of thing with the head waitress who literally carried around a katana with her, on the job. She served tables. It did wonders for politeness and getting tips without any argument. She was a good server. Not lazy or mean, but she had a sword. A real one. Not a replica. Said her folks were actual swordsmiths, like for real. That was a really weird job though, for any restaurant. Voyager was just customers and food service and sometimes a pinch, sometimes some flirty customer or glaring housewife who stiffed me for the tip. Wagnaria? That place was so weird.

I think if that Princess shows up and there’s no witnesses? I’m going to have Raphtalia kill her quietly. I don’t need that kind of psychopath running around out here. These were nice people. Poor people, but nice. They’d been nothing but nice to me while I’d killed all the monsters in their woods and cleared out their mine and… okay I’d done a lot for them. And saved them from monsters, who were going to need to be piled up and burned before they stank the place up. I guess it’s a good thing I was here already. If I’d had to teleport in there would probably be a bunch of dead villagers and buildings wrecked and orphans and stuff, but since I was here, I was already setup to protect them. I didn’t have to climb that tall watchtower and spill oil down the ladder onto a hundred zombies and then light them on fire and jump off the top, conveniently catching myself with the Rope Shield just before getting splattered by the fall. Yep, being here saved a lot of trouble. And that jerk knight commander was dead as a doornail. Pity about the armor, but he looked like he had serious body odor issues, so YUCK. Probably ought to burn that corpse too.


We celebrated for days after repelling the Wave, which is totally a stupid name, and I noticed that Raphtalia had grown a foot over the last month working with me. It seems like when she levels up she physically matures a bit more. That’s really weird, but she fights better and cries less, so good?

I kept working on my alchemy and came up with some decent healing soups which worked like potions did, or were supposed to. I haven’t figured out how to make actual potions yet. My alchemy talents keep veering into either poisons or food, some of them stews and soups. I’ve found a grain I can grind into flour and made flat bread out of it, and also white-sauce for some of my better dishes, which Raphtalia adores eating. I even invented a decent barbeque sauce with a good balance of sweet and sour and spicy to spread on skewers I grill. I’m close to having a working menu for my food cart. Bird likes everything I feed her. She laughs often, which I guess is a good thing in a bird.

I found I can extract a skewer onto a warmed flatbread I spread one of my sauces onto, and its finger food. Like those street Tacos in Ginza, which I found out were copied from Los Angeles. I’ve never been to LA, but a few years ago it was supposed to be a pretty amazing city. Shame about the typhus plague outbreak ending all the fun. Anyway, I could make that food here. I planted myself a garden of my preferred grain and herbs so they’d be easier to harvest to make my planned menu.

I went back to hunting boars again. They had the best taste of all the monsters in the forest. I would wrap them in my shield ball, and then Raphtalia would cut their brains open with an overhead smash using her sword. It put them down fast and left their meat undamaged. You usually would find several of these at once, so hanging them up for butchering to drain was necessary, but still, even if I wasn’t skilled in butchering I learned and taught Raphtalia, using a cleaver I’d traded for. Very good steel, very sharp. Sliced and chopped. She was careful and kept all her fingers, and heal spells fixed anything else which came off.

So, winning?