The ship that rescued me and Victoria, after we fell into the boundless ocean due to the plane accident, was a high-class cruise.
It couldn’t be ignored because it was a cruise, however.
In these present times where the importance of security has grown along with the happening of the alien invasion, the cruise ships of marine cities which received global investment boasted anti-air defense abilities that rivaled that of a battleship.
Even so, however, the situation wasn’t all good.
“Mr. Kang Han Soo. What you see isn’t all there is to it.”
“What else is there?”
“The coastal cities on the shores of the Pacific Ocean are currently in a state of emergency due to unprecedented natural disasters. Fortunately, though, there wasn’t much damage thanks to the Heroes stationed in those cities stopping those tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic ashes and on.”
“Is that so?”
I see that Earth’s quite capable on its own, eh?
“But the marine city took a big blow. There were few casualties thanks to disaster countermeasures, but the scale of damage is beyond imagination what with the production factories being flooded and the equipment being swept away by the waves or discharged.”
“It’s a relief people weren’t hurt!”
The lives of people came first. The rest were trivial issues.
“There weren’t exactly no casualties.”
“It’s a relief there were none.”
“No, I’m saying… Ugh! Whatever.”
The ocean was settling down bit by bit. Although the volcano that erupted underwater was still raging, it would eventually calm as well.
There was nothing that would become a problem.
The Earth I had come back to in a year and a half was peaceful and beautiful.
I sat my bottom down on the deck of the wrecked ship, to deal with these wings of mine however I could.
Its appearance differed entirely from that of an angel’s or demon’s. It didn’t have the feel of the Etherwings that the Demon King’s daughter showed either.
It possessed an aesthetic that was a little more primal.
“Mr. Kang Han Soo. I’ve been wanting to ask since a while now, but what are those creepy wings on your back?”
Victoria asked as she crouched next to me.
Was that her idea of a question?
“Why are you asking when you called them wings yourself?”
“Th-that’s right, but… Come on! Do you really have to talk like that? I’m allowed to ask, aren’t I!”
She expressed her discontent as she pouted her lips.
Although I wanted to break her damp neck by accident as she annoyed me by the side, I held back the urge as we weren’t the only ones on this shipwreck.
That being the case, I had to give some answer, but…
It was after 10 seconds of pondering that I came up with one.
“They’re wings that only a Hero that received SS-grade in combat ability can get.”
I thought it up from computer games.
The achievement system.
Special rewards would be given upon completing difficult achievements, a marketing strategy through which players would be granted incentive and motivation.
For an excuse that was thought up on the spot, it was rather good.
Victoria grew round-eyed upon hearing my words.
“Your combat ability is SS-grade?!”
“That’s right. If your curiosity’s satisfied then get away a little. Don’t go and hold me responsible when you end up getting stabbed by my wings.”
“It’s fine. My body’s sturdier than it loo-… Huh?”
Victoria’s expression turned stiff as she was poking at the horns protruding from my wings with a smile.
A hole had appeared on the finger she had poked with.
Scarlet blood began to pour out soon after.
Her face became stark pale, Victoria immediately scrambled away and opened the red medicine bottle hung on her belt and poured its contents on her finger.
The wound quickly stopped bleeding and began to heal.
It opened up again in a moment, however; there was an effect on the horns similar to a curse that interefered with healing, apparently.
“W-what on earth is…”
Victoria used more of the medicine, sweating heavily. She sprinkled and spread it on the finger with the hole, and even drank a part of it.
Thus she barely succeeded in treating the wound.
During that time I had been focusing on my wings.
As I was able to observe the inside of my body through Master Mollang’s teachings, it wasn’t impossible or hard to do.
And I realized a surprising truth.
“Is it derived from my ribs? Hm…”
For angels and demons, those winged races had an entirely new addition of an organ called “wings”.
But my wings were different.
Rib bones that protruded like snaggletooth had shot out of my back and transformed. From an evolutionary perspective, they could be called “primitive wings”.
To take several animals for examples…
The wings of the only mammal that can fly like birds, bats, are elongated fingers shaped like webbed feet.
Flying fish that lived in the sea were also similar. These fish that are capable of flying up to 40 seconds for 400m have pectoral fins shaped like wings.
The wings on my back were similar as well.
The three pairs of bones could be gathered and folded like an umbrella, which I realized during the previous battle as I moved them several times.
The problem came after this, however.
I had no way of wearing normal topwear in this state.
“Urgh… that’s the one thing I want to be spared…”
I shivered at recalling the outfits of angels and demons.
The clothes worn by their females were relatively better.
Their dresses and aprons that were completely open at the back were a kind of fashion that emphasized the attractive lines of their back.
But for men?
Putting aside the case of outright not wearing anything on the top, an outfit that covered only the front while revealing the back is just right for being pinned as a pervert.
This was why angel and demon males wore no topwear, or only wore specially made clothing that took their wings into account.
“Mr. Kang Han Soo. What are you doing?”
“Don’t talk to me. It’s serious.”
The wings of angels and demons were “summoned”.
When the summoning was undone, their wings would disappear from their backs, enabling them to lie down completely like humans.
I couldn’t do that, however.
Summoning rib bones made no sense, no?
“By chance… is it because of the wings?”
“I see you can’t bring yourself to be honest.”
“Lady. Aren’t you often told that you’re annoying for talking too much?”
“People like me talking to them, though.”
Victoria replied proudly.
“Hah! I’m sure they pretend to. Who knows what loss they’ll suffer if they speak honestly? Who would do something that’ll lead to kissing goodbye to their promotion or worse, being fired or put out to pasture.”
“How mean! I’d never do such things!”
“Look, look. You’re flaring up just ’cause I said a few words. If I were an employee, you would’ve already been howling to have me fired.”
“Well that’s because you… Urgh! Never mind!”
I continued to think on how to hide my wings even as we conversed.
And the conclusion I came to?
To break it off.
While it seemed somewhat an idiotic solution, there was no problem at all from my careful investigation of my body structure.
Not a drop of blood was spilled either.
They were wings designed to be easily broken off, to begin with.