Chapter 8 – Silverback and Hero
Maybe it was jealousy that made her take that decision. Maybe it was the want of seeing him grow. Maybe it was the gods typical need for entertainment.
But the moment she had seen these two, she knew that it wouldn't matter. She knew that she would be entertained seeing him grow and his date with Hestia would be ruined.
As she stared at the Silverback, she couldn't help but wonder if he would survive.
But that was part of the fun.
It started with roars and screams.
Bell and Hestia were having fun in the festival while they searched for Syr. Bell had gained a lot in the days Hestia was away so they played and ate to their hearts content. The search wasn't having much successes though as an hour had passed and they still hadn't found the elusive girl. They were just in the road that led to the coliseum when screams reached them and the crowd around them turned back.
A group of monsters, most of which were unknown to Bell, were chasing people around. Bell quickly reacted and grabbed Hestia before she was taken away in the crowd.
When the crowd finally thinned Bell found himself surprised that the monsters had mostly cleared away leaving only what looked like a white furred ape in view.
"…Kami-Sama… Is that thing looking at us…?"
The next few seconds proved crucial as only instinct made Bell capable of grabbing Hestia and jumping away before a white furred arm killed her, Bell had barely seen the monster move and from its strength he knew he couldn't clash and defend from it, so he did the thing that he knew to do best.
With Hestia in a princess carry he ran as fast as he could away from the Monster, there was a problem though, he couldn't run into the crowds, so he ran in direction to the places where people weren't so that the beast that seemed so fixated with his goddess followed him to a place where…
What did he plan to do…?
He knew he couldn't beat this thing.
Could he wait for help…?
If he was to ever go forwards, he had to do something to save his goddess himself.
Running into the strange roads of the Daedalus Street, Bell searched for a way to hide his goddess, but he desperately threw her away right before a fist impacted him, breaking his armor and throwing him against a wall with strength that cracked the wall and made him lose the wind inside his lungs, making him cough desperately as he tried to stand up before the monster reached his goddess.
"Bell-kun!" The Monster turned away from Bell and looked right at Hestia who paled when she noticed its inhuman glare, but she still stood and did the only thing she could think of "I am right here! Leave him alone!"
The Monster roared and was about to rush to the still paralyzed Hestia 'I'm sorry, Bell-kun!'
Yet white flashed across her eyes and another hit was blocked by Bell who ignored his pain and grabbed Hestia mid-air to act as her cushion when they fell.
"Bell…kun…? Bell-kun!" Hestia was a bit dazed but noticed the beaten state of her child who still stood against this horrendous situation
"What were you thinking, Kami-sama!" Bell screamed "I am trying to protect you! So don't put yourself in danger!"
Bell grabbed Hestia once again and ran away from the monster with the ape in fast pursuit. Running, Dodging, Weaving and sometimes taking hits Bell was doing everything in his reach to get away from the monster. Taking turns and sometimes stairs it wasn't long before they lost the monster in the mess of Daedalus Street.
Eventually Bell wounds and his movement started to take its toll. His body was covered in scrapes and sweat and his breaths became shorter and more frequent. Sooner or Later he would fall and get killed.
Hestia noticed this "Bell-kun, just leave me here and save yourself!"
Bell stopped and let Hestia down before he looked at her
"I won't LEAVE YOU! I WON'T LET MY FAMILY DIE AGAIN!" Bell's past, Bell's present and Bell's Future were crashing into him making him a mess instead of the adventurer he should be.
It wasn't his fault, he had been an adventurer for less than a month, it was no wonder he still couldn't do anything against the panic of facing an overpowering enemy. Fear and Determination were constantly fighting inside him.
So Bell took an honestly stupid decision "Kami-sama! Over Here!" Leading his goddess to a tunnel with a gate Bell almost pushed Hestia in before closing the metallic gate behind her.
"Bell-kun! What are you doing?!" Hestia was panicking after Bell did this, tears flooding her eyes.
"Sorry, Hestia-sama" Bell's eyes were full of fear, yet that fear seemed to held something behind it. Something that would make the determination to die rather than letting her being sent back to heaven a logic rather than insanity. "I… Never wanted to make you cry, but if you are live you have to run away"
"Bell-kun! Please! Don't do this!" Hestia begged tears in her eyes making her view of him blurry
"Thank you for giving me a Home" was the last thing Bell said before he rushed back to the sounds of the Monster's roar
"Bell-kun!" Hestia watched with eyes full of worry as her worst nightmare unfolded before her eyes. Bell was about to die and she couldn't anything about it. What kind of useless goddess was she?! Why?! Why him?! He hasn't done anything wrong! Why did he have to settle for such a pathetic Goddess like her?!
Hestia, a goddess unaccustomed to battle due to her generally peaceful nature, had panicked and forgotten the existence of a certain black knife that she held on her back, that is until a thought finally entered her mind 'If he was stronger… If he had a… WEAPON!' "Bell-kun, we will have a serious talk after this" Hestia ran, pushing her already fatigued body beyond its limits hoping beyond hope that Bell would still be alive.
With a roar Bell rushed to the Monster and attempted to stab him in the eye, just like the minotaur Bell had once faced, but the monster just punched him once more and then used its broken chains to try and slap him away. But Bell held on to the chain and smiled "Gotcha!" Throwing his one and only Oil Bomb directly at the monster, Bell then pulled the chain to destabilize the monster and to make sure the item hit it.
The monster roared as its fur, especially the area that was hit by the liquid, caught fire. Bell used the chance and stabbed one of the ape's eyes making it roar in pain, but not before the monster managed to punch Bell away and destroy the knife by sheer accident.
Bell gritted his teeth and turned to using his fist making sure to punch the beast as hard as he could, barely making it past its defense due to the boost the fire that covered the monster was giving him. His punches and kicks were barely effective and Bell knew inside of him that he would die long before the monster even received enough damage to stagger it much longer, but he would go down fighting. Minutes passed and he could feel himself being covered in bruises as he didn't know a lot about hand to hand combat. He was at least happy that his goddess was safe and was willing to accept his death if it was like this.
That is until his plans were utterly ruined.
"Bell-kun!" Hestia appeared, covered in sweat and her bare feet scratched and red from running was looking at him.
"Kami…sama…?" Bell was utterly surprised by his goddess appearance and then that surprised turned to rage "WHY?! WHY DID YOU RETURN?!"
Hestia finally reached him and cupped his cheek "We promised to never abandon each other didn't we?"
Bell's eyes widened as he remembered that he had once promised his goddess to never abandon her and she had promised to never abandon him in exchange.
It was then that Bell felt it, the silenced roars of pain of the monster. He barely had time to grab his goddess and jump away before the area they were in was destroyed by the monster's fist.
"Bell-kun, find somewhere we can stay safe for a while! I have a way for you to defeat that!"
Bell moved, trusting his Goddess, he grabbed one of the lamps in front of a window and shattered it on the monster's other eye, making it roar, but more importantly making it temporarily blind. Turning his back on the monster he ran with his goddess holding her in a princess carry once more before running deeper into the Daedalus Street. Bell ran far through the twist and turns of the labyrinth but unfortunately he ran into a dead end with a big fountain in the middle.
Tear came to Bell's eyes, despair seeping into his soul, but he then he shook his head and focused on his Goddess who was trying to untie the cloth she had around her as fast as she could which she managed revealing that the cloth held a box that after being opened revealed a sheathed knife. Bell eyes widened and his heart burned as he finally understood the reason for his goddess absence.
"I will update your status and you will slay that thing" Hestia declared with utter confidence and a smile on her face.
"Eh?! Kami-sama?! What do you mean?! I can barely damage that thing! A few points won't make a difference!" Bell could barely survive the sixth floor and that monster wasn't one of the creatures that resided in any of the first ten floors if his lessons with Eina were to be believed.
"It's alright, I believe in you. I believe that the boy that found me that day is more special than anyone, will become stronger than anyone and will become a man that can reach his dreams!"
Bell teared up at the trust that his Goddess had on him. He had noticed that since his Goddess came up with a plan she stopped trembling, she stopped having fear and could even smile in this situation.
The roars of the beast were getting closer but Hestia's hand never flinched nor stopped as she updated Bell's status.
"This weapon is heresy for a blacksmith"
Hestia remembered Hephaistos words
"In a sense its incomplete, only someone with your Falna can give it the last piece, its edge. This is a weapon that grows with its user, the stronger its user is, the stronger this knife will be"
'Everything depends on you, Bell-kun!'
Strength: G-204 → E-540 Agility: G-215 → E-520 Dexterity: H-180 → E-500 Defense: I-70 → E - 590 Magic: I0
- Resistance to fire
- All stats augmented in high temperatures
- Rapid Growth
- Continued desire results in continued growth
- Stronger desire results in stronger growth
'1400 point?! With this!' "We can win!"
Bell was focused on the roars of the beast as he gripped the knife in his hand, uncaring of the glowing hieroglyphs on is sides, his hand trembled as he prepared himself for battle. But then his goddess hugged him "Do not fear, for you are strong, Bell-kun. I will become a goddess worthy of you and you will become the best adventurer to ever exist. I trust you. So keep your heart burning"
"YES!" at that moment the monster appeared and Bell ran out to face him one last time.
He rushed forwards and with his knife and dodged the fist that he couldn't before, jumping over it he slashed at the piece of armor that covered one of its eyes, destroying it with strength that before wouldn't have been more than a dream. Sliding through the pavement he once more prepared himself to fight, setting his objective to the center of the chest of the monster as it was very probable that the magic stone that maintained its existence was right there.
The Monster turned to the side and spit the muzzle that covered its mouth before letting out a roar that would have frozen in fear any normal newbie adventurer "GROAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!"
Bell, however, was undeterred by it and gave his own back as he rushed forwards already a plan in his mind "RAAAAAAAAAAA!" The monster too rushed forwards only for Bell to jump midways while remembering only a single technique, one that he would never be able to completely replicate 'Water Wheel!' different from his dreams there was no stream of water surging from his blade as he rushed forwards and if and unblessed person or an adventurer with low status had tried the same they would have only failed… But Bell was neither of those, with the strength, agility and dexterity provided by his status he spun forwards in mid-air, slashing and destroying the chest plate while also cutting the monster.
The Monster roared in pain and reared its hand back before launching it forwards, trying to hit Bell with the chain attached to its cuffs. Bell noticing this barely landed before planting his feet and blocking with his knife, watching in wonder as the knife destroyed the chains and completely protected him from the hit.
The Monster noticing that Bell was distracted attempted to punch him, only for Bell to immediately notice and rush forwards into the hit, making the ape miss. Bell hadn't finished however and using his full power thrusted the knife forwards into its chest, smiling in relief when he fell something solid shatter through his blade.
Jumping back, he watched as the monster turned into ashes and a shattered magic stone, utterly surprised that he had been able to defeat it. Hestia on the other hand had been completely confident that he would defeat it and only watched in excitement as Bell picked the monster apart before finally rushing forwards to congratulate him.
"You did it, Bell-kun!" Hestia barely reached him before people appeared out of hidden doors and windows, all of them cheering the boy who killed the monster. People rushed out and walked to the boy, all of them desiring to see the one that slayed such a monster, only to find themselves surprised by the appearance of the boy.
"You… are… the…" with that Hestia collapsed, her fatigue from helping to forge the blade together with the fatigue of running around so much proving to be too much for her, at least she had satisfied her hunger.
Three people watched this scene with multiple emotions
On one side, a certain goddess of Beauty watched in happiness as the soul she saw burned brighter and grew stronger, having defeated her little prank and advanced to greater heights "Ahh~ I want you~" The goddess giggled as she watched him carry the fainted Hestia away "But not yet… you need to grow a bit more…"
On another a certain sword princess saw him move away with a feeling of curiosity, after all the boy was a Rookie that had seemingly grown stronger quicker than normal, for a second the thought of approaching him to find the source of such growth appeared but she quickly dismissed it as she didn't know where the boy stood on the strength scale before today.
The final one, was Loki who watched with trepidation at the fainted Hestia and the banged up adventurer that was her child and only a single thought entered her mind 'At this rate, whenever Freya makes her move… Hestia will end up returning to Tenkai…' The problem was that she couldn't order any of her children to interact with the kid without revealing to Freya that she still had a few tricks up her sleeve 'Unless I manage to send someone strong but idiotic enough to ignore the warning signs and not snitch on me the moment Freya or some other god Questions them…' She had just the perfect person in mind.
"Is she alright?" Bell was filled with nerves, as he had only thought of helping his goddess and had brought her to the Hostess of Fertility so that she could rest and then be checked, luckily it seemed that Syr had a bit of knowledge in first aid and had seen to Hestia
"She is just exhausted" declared Syr "She will need to rest for a bit"
With a sigh of relief Bell almost melted in front of Syr "That's great… I honestly didn't know what to do when she collapsed…"
"By the way, good job today, Bell-san" congratulated Syr before suddenly becoming shy and fidgeting a bit "A-Also sorry for… getting you involved into this… if I hadn't forgotten my wallet-"
"It's not your fault" Bell replied immediately "It's not like you released the monsters and then told that monster to follow us, so it isn't your fault"
Freya felt actually guilty now
After taking a few moments to reassure Syr, she finally relaxed. Bell felt relieved at that.
"So… how does it feel to be called Brave and Heroic?" Syr asked with a teasing smile, getting closer to Bell so she could see his reaction even in the dim light
"Eh?" Bell on the other hand was confused and tilted his head in question
"Didn't you know? Everyone is talking about the Rookie who took on a monster stronger than him and won. So everyone is now saying that you are very brave and heroic" Syr explained
"I… I ran away, Syr. Instead of fighting, my first instinct was to run away and even when I fought, I wasn't fighting to win… but that will change, that I promise" Bell
"I know you will. And even if you were running away, it looked very good from the outside… At that moment you made me fall for you~"
"I was called to the Bar earlier, so until next time~"
Bell couldn't help but smile as the tricky maid walked away "Syr really is a good, if slightly weird person… I do wonder why she feels so lonely though"
Walking to the room that held his goddess he barely put his hand on the door knob before a thud alerted him. Rushing inside he saw his goddess sprawled in the ground
"Kami-sama!" Rushing to her side, Bell noticed she was smiling apologetically
"Sorry, Bell-kun… I guess my legs are still tired" she laughed as if telling a joke to an old friend
But Bell wouldn't have it "Why are you laughing?! Just what were you doing that left you so tired?!"
Hestia smiled and pointed to the knife equipped at Bell's back "That. That is not a normal knife, it is alive and grows with you. It was made by Hephaistos and me, although I only gave support"
"Hephaistos-sama?!" Bell was incredibly surprised and terrified "How much did this cost?!"
Hestia looked down and considered something before deciding "I won't lie to you, Hephaistos gave it to me at a price of 200,000,000 million valis"
Bell's legs failed him, he couldn't believe the incredibly high debt they now had
"Bell-kun! Don't worry this debt is mine to pay! Hephaistos told me that I would have to work for her for few hundred years to pay it completely!" Hestia wildly moved her hands as she tried to quickly explain and dispel his worries but only managed to anger Bell.
"Kami-sama… What do you mean…?" Bell's voice trembled with an strange sense of anger
"I-I mean, this a gift from me to you! You shouldn't have to help me pay for it!" Hestia corrected desperately
Bell closed his eyes and found the direction of his rage, he was angered at the fact that he had made his goddess take a risky and quite simply stupid decision just to help him stay alive. Taking a breath and opening his eyes ruby stared into sapphire "Kami-sama… First of all, I'm sorry, I'm sorry I made you worry, I'm sorry that I indirectly made you take on this debt and I'm sorry but no matter what you say I will help you pay for this gift, this is not to a gift to me… but to our Familia, to our future and I will help you with the burden all the way to the top and beyond because I promise you, I will always return to you"
That day a human made an impossible and arrogant promise to a God… with the full intention to accomplish it.
Finally done with this chapter, the next one I'm excited for as it covers part of the path I intend this story to go for.