*TN: Sword Ki revised to Swordforce
▶Question: There’s the saying that while life is short, misfortune prolongs it. But why does it feel like I’m actually experiencing this?
‘Miss Trainee Teacher sure can ask a philosophical question.’
The Ice Princess’ education progressed very smoothly. Before even a day had passed, which was my goal, she had achieved a perfect growth whether it be physically or mentally. She had immediately realized what a happy and lazy life she had been leading until now; the layers of fat that had accumulated at her chest and buttocks spoke for that.
Now we were at the final inspection stage.
“Princess, do you really think you lived alone?”
Her clothes reduced to rags, the Ice Princess stammered out a reply.
“Right. The reason why you could live amidst perpetual snowfall in a place where not a single leaf of grass grows, Princess, is thanks to somebody’s love and help.”
A beautiful princess locked away on a tower or a prison… would she really be beautiful? There wasn’t even the need to bother imagining just what a terrible shape she would end up in without a mere several days of care. She wouldn’t be able to even take a bath, let alone care for her looks.
Bathing prevented illness, washed away dead skin, oil and the like, and expanded blood vessels and stimulated blood circulation. It was at this time that the toxins in the skin would be flushed out, and thus would be completed the fair skin which was the necessary condition to being a beauty. In short, hygiene and beauty were directly proportional to each other, and by no means could this be ever achieved while locked away in a tower or prison—meaning, the ‘beautiful princess imprisoned on a tower’ in fairy tales had no realism to it.
“Think back to the daily supplies you’ve been granted all this time, Princess.”
At the very least, even the toilet papers used to wipe after taking a dump were all products provided from below Snowy Mountain M. While the Ice Princess whose blood was like anti-freezing solution wouldn’t freeze to death, even if she were to go nude all day long, that she could wear pretty clothing every day was all thanks to somebody’s assistance as well.
The same went for food. Carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins… even in this ignorant fantasy world where the concept of nutrition wasn’t properly grasped, the importance of the habit of having a varied diet was known. And looking at the Ice Princess’ figure? It boasted curves that could never have resulted from an unbalanced diet.
She was by no means alone, the letters piled up in her cold room further proof of this. These people who had sent the letters held hopes and dreams, that the Ice Princess’ rampage would one day come to an end.
“I became able to control it thanks to you, Sir Hero.”
She had died around 10 times before she could control her power—it would have been strange if she couldn’t.
▷Job: Princess(National Strength=Charm↑)
▷Skills: Madness(S) Chill(S) Survivability(S) Glamor(A) Tolerance(A)…
▷Condition: Stable, Submission
Although it would have been far easier had I injected my Dark Energy and turned her into a demon worshiper, I had wanted a ‘100% purity’ Ice Princess like Virgin A had. Using a cheat key didn’t count as conquering, after all; I didn’t need an Ice Princess tainted by Dark Energy.
But my attempt was greatly successful! The Ice Princess had succeeded in controlling her power even without the Sage’s Staff. Since the ‘Saintess’ who had resurrected the princess over 10 times in the training process was legitimate and not a cheat key, there was no problem there either.
▶At a Loss: Beating a companion to death is…
‘Miss Trainee Teacher. This was education, you know?’
Sword King Alex would vouch for this.
“Princess. We’ll be going down to the village below the snowy mountain within today, so clean yourself thoroughly and change into clean clothes starting now. After following me down and spending several days at the village for starters, you do whatever you feel like whether it be coming back here, or going to your home.”
My business with the Ice Princess was finished—I had made an achievement greater than that of Virgin A, who had relied on the Sage’s Staff. Now my work on reputation would be completed so long as I went to Village Q and started a rumor that went “Sir Hero Kang Han Soo made the wicked Ice Princess submit!”.
“What? Weren’t you going to keep bringing me…”
“Why would I do that?”
Increasing the number of companions would only end up with them being a nuisance. Even now, I didn’t have the slightest issue in defeating Demon King Pedonar, and the Sage had already signed up as a companion; I didn’t want to take on any more spongers at this point. The Ice Princess’ worth only lay in building my reputation. Just the feat of having made the most famous villainess in the northern continent submit would be tremendous advertisement. What happened afterwards wasn’t of my concern.
The Ice Princess washed her body in the hot spring pool in the center of the fortress. Perhaps it was the wisdom of having lived alone? The bathing area was rather well furnished. Although, it was a question why there was a separate changing and bathing area for men in a place where she lived alone.
After having finished preparations to leave, the Ice Princess had almost nothing on her. A pouch that contained jewels and gold coins was all. Upon casually asking her about this…
“I intend on buying new things at the village.”
The Ice Princess replied in a tone that had no regrets towards this place where she had been living. There were bound to be some mementos, yet she had thrown all of them away. She even said the letters that had piled up weren’t needed as she had memorized the entire contents… She was full of the determination to procure daily necessities and food at the local village, even if only to part with her past.
As for me, I didn’t care whichever way.
“Then let’s going quickly, shall we.”
The obedient Baekgu responded with a rumbling cry as he flapped his three pairs of wings. Ah, what a cute fellow he was.
But at that moment, something attacked my pet.
A gigantic pair of jaws had shot out of the snow to swallow Baekgu whole. It wasn’t like he was a recently born whelp—he was an adult dragon grown up enough to awaken to sexual urges and even have an Elf wife—yet he disappeared in one mouthful.
“My first pet…”
There was a time when I had bought a chick in front of my primary school and momentarily left it at a playground, when a stray cat suddenly pounced over to whisk it away—the traumatic memory of that slowly began to reemerge in my mind. And of all things, it just had to be a cat this time as well.
… Was it a cat?
▷Race: Ice Titan
▷Job: Snow King(Cold→Divine Protection↑)
▷Skills: Chill(SSS) Madness(SS) Divine Protection(SS) Sleep(SS) Evil Spirits(SS)…
▷Condition: Twilight Years, Violent Emotion, Fury
It was a giant with a head which resembled that of a cat, the same type as the ‘catfish giant’ I had defeated the other day; however, this one’s overall Status was overwhelmingly greater. Why had it suddenly appeared out of nowhere? The answer was being told by the golden eyes of the cat giant—it was staring at the Ice Princess.
“Princess. What’s the relationship between you two?”
“… It’s the white cat that appeared in my dreams at times. But it was neither this big, nor a biped on those occasions.”
“As I thought…”
I had an 11-year career of Hero-ing; I could even write a novel with a casual glance at the situation.
It was in its twilight years and was furious. This cat giant was on the verge of dying of old age like Oblivion Dragon King Noebius, who was slumbering in some hill over at the middle continent. Furthermore, it had hastily shown itself the moment I had tried to leave Snowy Mountain M with the Ice Princess in tow. I guessed this situation to be either an event or trap that would occur upon laying a hand on the princess before the cat giant naturally passed away.
It had the same Skill set, Chill and Madness, as the Ice Princess. While the cat giant far surpassed her in terms of Skill rank, this couldn’t possibly be a coincidental match. In the first place, the Ice Princess wasn’t able to control her own power, which was an extremely rare matter in this fantasy world where Skills would be adjusted through the Status; they would be automatically controlled along with the increase of Skill proficiency. The Ice Princess wasn’t capable of this, however, as the rampaging power grew worse according to the Skill rank.
“So you were behind it.”
Most likely, the cat giant in its twilight years had fallen into dementia, which was why it infused its own power into an austere human girl that wasn’t even of its own race, and lured her over to Snowy Mountain M.
Thinking over it carefully, there was no need for the Ice Princess, who was of noble status, to have lived the entire time on Snowy Mountain M. If all she wanted was to avoid hurting the people around her, then it would have been possible to find a secluded place anywhere; a typical example would be the king’s personal territory where entry was strictly forbidden. As a wealthy member of royalty who wasn’t even a landless common person, there had been no reason for her to live like ‘prey’ in a poor environment where it was hard to supply goods. It was the very height of irrational decision-making.
But what if this was all due to somebody’s interference?
The cat giant looked at me as it growled. It seemed that I was unmistakably the cause of its fury; although, it wasn’t like there was room to compromise and make peace, to begin with.
“Look here, cat. The price for eating my Baekgu is high, you hear?”
I summoned forth Holy Sword 2. It was possible that the Ice Princess would become caught up in our battle, but the cat giant would try its best to not lay a hand on her; it definitely thought of her like a granddaughter.
Of course, even in spite of that, I didn’t consider using the petty method of taking a hostage. After all, the giant hadn’t budged an inch even when the Ice Princess was shitting blood in a state of unconsciousness, or when she had died over 10 times in a bloody mess. It had an attitude of being fine with anything so long as she stayed by its side, dead or alive. Or perhaps it wasn’t able to perceive that much due to presbyopia…
But whatever the case, it didn’t matter.
The cat giant’s hand hidden amidst the blizzard came swinging towards me—even a single fingernail of the giant was larger than my body.
However, I didn’t dodge but instead faced it head on.
“Become my EXP!”
I coated the powers of Divinity and Dark Energy in Blessing, and fused the two into a whirlwind of chaotic force which I guided to coil around Holy Sword 2. Due to Black-Box’s effect, these two conflicting powers didn’t clash. Far from clashing, they instead achieved a harmony of black and while, sublimating into an even more powerful force.
The advancement in Skill ranks was a basic bonus, and this was precisely the reason why I had felt no regret even after using all the Skills I had as offerings to reach the transcendental domain. The majority of them, aside from he truly special Skills such as Fortune or Storage, were being remembered by my body and soul; by ruminating on these, the proficiency levels of those Skills would rise in no time.
Skills were nothing but supplements to me.