Thanks to Xiii for giving me this prompt~
Also posting to RRL, link incoming
/bows to support ticket gods
“Ah, it’s really true, isn’t it.”
The signal bar on the phone screen displayed a clear red X. No wifi and no data either.
A vast spread of rolling hills lay before me, a dirt path trailing down and leading to a peasant town. There were a lot of trees and forests. It looked like a promotional advertisement for a European getaway. However, there were very clearly some floating islands here and there, and some giant monsters flying around, and I think if Europe had these kinds of sights they wouldn’t have any financial crisis to worry about.
I looked back at my phone.
… Hey, other worlds, hurry up and invent Satellite signal. I want to call 911 and have a policeman escort me home, please.
The policeman that came for me was tall, buff, and coated with heavy chainmail.
“We’ve arrived at the Castle, milady,” he said.
“Ah,” I said.
I’m a man though.
However, when the villagers found me, they explained that the newly discovered otherworlders had very specific tasks.
1) If you are man, you’re given a sword and asked to go out and slay the demon king, and the demon king’s generals, and their lieutenants, and their captains, and their vast army of demon grunts that numbered in total over 10 million, oh and there’s no army backing you up. You can take maybe five people with you, but otherwise you’re on your own.
2) If you are a woman, you’re asked to stay in the Church and inspire the warriors who will go out and fight or whatever.
Now I don’t know about you, but when someone gives me the choice of becoming a valiant hero that risks his life to journey across the land, slaying monsters and saving the kingdom, or pretending to be a woman in the safety of the city, the answer is obvious.
I’m a woman from today forth, please treat me well.
When I met the King, he looked at me from top to bottom while stroking his beard, looking troubled.
“Hmm… so this is the Maiden? She seems a bit… smaller, than usual.”
“Ah, I’m still young.” For several reasons, it’s very natural for me to not have a large chest.
The King looked even more troubled. “If you’re too young then you cannot possibly fulfill the duties of — ”
“Actually, I’m a little bit older, but I don’t like talking about my age or my size so how about we drop it.”
The King sensed that he had breached a topic that no man should ever ask a woman about and changed the subject. Once he was satisfied with my qualifications he sent me off to the priestesses at the Church.
The Church was a large white tower near the castle, and would be my living space from now on. The ground floor had an altar/throne for the Maiden of Light to sit in during the day, and some space in front for worshipers to pray. A staircase in the altar led up to the upper floors in the tower, which included a waiting room and my bedroom.
The priestesses had very friendly, older sister-like vibes. They cooed over my short stature and pet my head a ton. Endure! I told myself. Eventually they dragged me to a dressing area and pulled out a bundle of white cloth.
This was a very frilly, very complicated, very wedding dress-like Holy Robe.
I stared at it, and the abyss stared back at me.
When I finally put it on and left the changing room, the priestesses squealed and pulled me over to do my hair. Flowers and jewels flew out of nowhere and onto my head.
I looked at myself in the mirror.
Ah, it’s a woman.
“Holy Maiden, this servant has come to request your blessings…”
I greeted the man kneeling before me.
Today, it was Rodrick von something something. He was tall and handsome, more importantly he had a mop of blue hair and orange eyes. If I doubted that I was in a fantasy world before, this confirmed it.
“Well, do your best to be victorious. Don’t be afraid to come home and rest if you need to, inns are good too, it’s important to keep up your health. Take care and try your best,” I said. Probably, I should say something like ‘Die for the glory of your country!’ and ‘If you can’t win, then don’t bother coming back!’ but, when I consider that these guys are fighting in place of me, the male hero, I felt too guilty and could only encourage them softly.
Rodrick von something something replied with a muttered affirmation, ducking his head with a blush. This guy in particular had a tough time looking at me. I wonder if he’s shy. In that case I feel doubly guilty for sending him off. Comrade, please survive; if you die a virgin, the weight of my sins will be too much to bear.
Since the day I set up shop here, I’ve had a lot of visitors. At first only a few odd folk visited, but after a while word spread that I was here, and all sorts of people from around the country came parading through. It got to the point where the priestesses needed to set up an appointment book. Every day I was very busy.
Though, it was still just saying a few sentences to someone before sending them off, so it’s much better than the alternative.
“Greetings to the Holy Maiden.”
Geh, a flashy guy came through.
“You don’t seem very happy to see me,” he said smugly. A+ intuition, I wonder if it was my deadpan voice or my shifty glare that gave it away. “Could it be that you aren’t willing to give your blessing and send me off from the city?”
This prince was a complete womanizing scumbag. I saw him flirt with the priestesses, flirt with the maids, hell, I bet he’d flirt with a potted plant if you stuck a skirt on it.
“Go out there and kill some demons, I guess,” I told him.
His arrogant face turned sour. I bet he wanted to ask, That’s it?
I thought some more.
“Come back after you’ve killed a midboss at least,” I decided. I then waved my hand and the priestesses escorted him out. Good riddance.
The next guy to come in was some Duke of Highever or whatever. He was dressed in all black, his hair was black, his eyes were black. God, what a Kirito. He stared at me with a cold expression and didn’t even greet me.
If you’re not gonna say anything I’m not gonna say anything either.
I laid back in my comfy chair. If he stayed here long enough, maybe I could take a nap.
He kept staring at me. It was a little creepy. Maybe he’s not all right in the head.
I took a glance over at the priestesses waiting in the wings. Hey, wait, they’re not over there. They’re super far away, all the way in the corner, and they’re even shaking a little. Holy shit, this dude’s creep levels are off the charts.
“So did you want a blessing, or?” I gave in. Even if I’m fine sitting around here, those poor priestesses deserve better.
Duke Creepazoid didn’t even blink.
Well he’s here, so I’ll just go ahead on my own. “Uh, good luck. Hope you can win a ton of battles, preferably the ones that are really, really far away. Maybe try not to die.” I waved my hand. The priestesses didn’t dare come out, but Duke Whatever spun around and walked out on his own, black trenchcoat fluttering dramatically behind him.
We’re inside. There’s not even any wind to make it flutter.
My final appointment for the day was—
“A-Ah!! H-Hello, Holy Maiden-sama!!”
I looked at the dogeza-ing figure before me.
His hair is light brown. His eyes are green. He’s wearing an anime T-shirt and sweatpants. He’s acting like he’s a Japanese web novel protagonist. Oh god, it’s a weeb.
“Are you American?” I asked.
“I-I-I’m Canadian, Holy Maiden-sama!” he yelled, forehead still pressed on the floor.
“Do you have any martial arts training or whatever? MMA?”
“I, um, I know some kendo…” Great. While others were partying, he was studying the blade. That’s perfect.
It’s kind of a shame, he actually didn’t look that bad. My sister would probably go for him as long as he ditched the anime shirt. Or at least traded it in for an anime shirt that didn’t have MEGA MILK printed on it. “Well,” I said. “Now’s your chance to… uh, prove yourself. Go out and level up. Start with some slimes and bunnies and stuff. Eventually you’ll get stronger, maybe even enough to fight the Demon King (haha yeah right). Make sure to pick your party members well. Actually, there are a lot of cute girls here, you could probably make a harem if you wanted to.”
When I said that, the dude raised his head and looked at me with a shiny, determined expression. “I-I only believe in loving one true waifu!” he declared, with all the intensity of a real shounen protagonist.
“Great!” I said, clapping my hands. “That’s the spirit! Maybe you won’t die after all- I mean, do your best, brave hero.”
Actually, wasn’t it strange for there to be two male heroes at the same time? Though nominally there was only one, and he’d just left the building.
Well, whatever. As long as I don’t have to do the dirty work, that’s fine with me.
Now that the great rush of heroes had passed, an era of peace and free time came upon me. I lounged in my waiting room. Several priestesses came to and fro, fluffing up my pillows and serving bowls of grapes and bunny-cut apples.
This was the good life.
While attending to my daily needs, the priestesses made sure to keep me up to date with the latest news.
“Milady, did you hear? The town of Rosfeld has been reclaimed from the demons!”
The priestesses giggled and looked at each other.
“Ah, that’s great.”
Don’t know jack about Rosfeld and don’t care.
One of the priestesses looked at me with shiny eyes. “The town of Rosfeld is one of the most important places in our country! All of the major roads go through Rosfeld, and it’s know for having hundreds of luxurious shops and inns.”
“Oh, sounds cool.” I guess it’s some major tourist town or whatever. Maybe I’ll go visit it when it’s back up and running.
“Milady, word has just come in! Prince Zeno led an assault on the base of the Demon King’s lieutenant, the great demon Azkaropoth, and won! They say that he personally dueled with the demon himself!”
They were always really excited, and kept looking at me for a reaction. I guess, for them, winning this ancient, centuries-old war really was exciting.
I honestly didn’t expect the Prince to actually be capable. There was a 50/50 chance of him just taking credit for someone else’s work, though, so I wasn’t too impressed. But as long as the job got done there was nothing to complain about. I shrugged and went back to reading.
“Milady, rumors say that the Duke of Highfield ventured out into the Arcadian Deserts to push back the demon army! And so far, he’s been successful!”
The Duke… that Kirito wannabe, huh. “Arcadian Deserts, where’s that?” I asked.
The priestesses tittered, leaning in like they were sharing some juicy gossip. “The Arcadian Deserts are some of the farthest parts of our lands! They were one of the first to fall to the demons. It takes at least two months just to ride there. The Duke of Highfield is truly ambitious!” they praised.
“Oh, isn’t that nice.” Damn, riding out for two months just to go to a desert? What a lunatic. Though for someone like that, he probably prefers a place where there aren’t any other people.
“Milady, if the Duke of Highfield is successful… what do you think?”
The priestesses looked at me warily.
“Uh, good for him? Yay team?” What was I supposed to think? A win was a win.
The priestesses looked at each other. After a while, once they’d moved out of my hearing range, they started to discuss something in a low voice. Finally, they seemed to come to a consensus. “I suppose he’s not so bad,” one of them said audibly. The other nodded.
What was that about, I wondered. Probably nothing important. I laid down on the sofa and prepared to nap.
“Milady!! Milady, you’re finally awake!!”
The priestesses beamed at me as soon as I came downstairs.
“Ah, yeah.” I wiped at my eyes with my fist, still half asleep.
Then, suspiciously, I paused and peered at the table.
An enormous spread of food covered every inch of it. Pastries, croissants, eggs, meats, fruits, juice, milk, cheeses, anything and everything. It was impossible for one little me to eat it all, but I sure as hell was willing to try.
“… Is there some special occasion today?”
The priestesses’ bright grins nearly blinded me.
“Milady, the Hero has singlehandedly conquered the demon army!”
“The Hero? As in that guy, yea high, brown hair, mega milk t-shirt, that Hero?”
“Indeed! They say that for the first few months, the Hero wandered the fringes, not daring to venture too far into the demon lands. But over time he grew in strength and ability, and soon not even the Demon King’s Generals could stand up to him! He’s now marching upon the Demon King’s castle, ready to end the war once and for all!”
“Ohh.” I looked at the breakfast spread. “So that’s the occasion. Makes sense. Let’s toast to the end of the war, then!” I said, raising a glass of orange juice.
A priestess giggled, “And to your marriage!”
I set down the orange juice.
“Sorry, I think I misheard you. Did you just say…”
Another priestess cheered, “A toast to Milady’s marriage!” A round of cheers sounded as all the priestesses raised their teacups together.
I stared at this scene blankly.
I looked down at myself.
My pristine white Maiden of Light Robes, which looked suspiciously like a wedding dress, looked back at me.
I’ve made a mistake.
“So let me get this straight. Whoever defeats the Demon King, gets to marry the Maiden of Light.”
“And no one thought about telling me this sooner?”
The priestesses looked at me strangely.
“Milady,” one of them said hesitantly, “You were the inspiration for the brave warriors to venture forth against the enemy.”
… I was their ‘inspiration’, in other words, the big prize reward.
All this time, all those people coming to see me, all those blessings they were receiving… Were actually marriage proposals.
Excuse me waiter, I think I’m going to puke.
“Okay,” I said slowly. “So… if the Hero kills the Demon King, I. Have to get married.” I looked at the priestesses. They nodded.
“Yes, that’s rather the point, Milady.”
“Uh,” I said. “Excuse me, I think I have something to do.”
I only found this out recently, but there’s actually a Holy Sword on the back of my throne. At first I thought it was ornamental or something, but then a demon infiltrated the Church and tried to attack me. Unfortunately for the demon, it couldn’t even get close because of the sword’s holy aura.
I dug the sword out of my throne and held it up. It had a magical white glow to it.
“Well,” I muttered to myself, “Better late than never.”
In the first place I didn’t go because it was my ass on the line. But now that it’s really my ass on the line, I have to go.
I gathered up a ration of supplies and set off toward the Demon King’s Castle.
“— No, I was here first!”
“Listen here, whelp, I will be the one to slay—”
“If anyone’s going to do it, it’s going to be—”
I walked past the quarreling group of guys and up to the unconscious Demon King. He’d been beat up so badly that his face had swollen, and one of his horns had fallen off. He was slumped against his throne, unable to even lift a finger. It was actually kind of sad.
“Sorry, dude,” I said, and stabbed him.
The Demon King let out a last wheeze, and finally died.
The room behind me fell silent. I turned around to see a bunch of wide-eyed, disbelieving faces.
“H-H-Holy Maiden-sama?” the Hero whispered.
“No, dick.” I tore off the damned wedding dress and ripped the flowers out of my hair. “From now on I’m the goddamn Hero-sama. And I’m not getting married.”