Season 2 Chapter 13
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Ian stopped his breath, as he would have to battle if absolutely necessary. However, Hercules hesitated after looking around. It seemed that he had felt Ian’s presence slightly, but it had been a stroke of luck that he had looked him in the eye.
[…Maybe it had been wind blowing.]
Hercules cleared his throat and walked away, and Ian let out a sigh of relief. It was too early to turn back time or try to fight that monster. Ian would need to get out before Hercules felt something again.
He found the Sunweed with orange leaves and thought five would be sufficient. However, the moment he tried to pick one, he barely managed to avoid a harsh blow from a stick with a protective barrier.
[So, it was not the wind.]
Hercules looked at Ian behind the barrier and nodded as he spoke.
[You tiny rat. It was not a bad trick, and I might have been almost fooled.]
Ian moved himself away from the Gigantes, as he needed distance from that stick.
[What is your skin…why is it not blue? Your clothes, that weird trick…it’s familiar. You’re from the Middle Earth, right?]
Those characteristics told Hercules where Ian had come from.
[Are you that Variant the clock tower talks about? Ian…Ian Pategua?]
“My name is Ian Page.”
[Right. I knew that. I think with my fists rather than my brain…]
Hercules’s eyes turned red for a moment, and his expression turned one of extreme hostility.
[And I think like this!]
He broke Ian’s protective barrier easily with his olive tree stick. He had done so with pure physical strength.
[Listen, rat from the Middle Earth.]
Hercules smiled with satisfaction.
[The weak are called by the names that strong ones give. Your name will be Ian Pategua from now.]
Ian had noticed that Hercules’s attack pattern was simple and thought it would be better to fight him. Even if he had to turn back time, it would be a valuable experience. Ian brought out his magic.
“See here, Hercules.”
[How do you know my name?]
“That is not important.”
Ian would face physical offense with magical attacks and be on the offensive.
“You won’t let me go?”
[While I have no real reason to keep you here, today, I am not in that mood.]
“Well, I have no choice then.”
A massive fireball lit up, which glowed purple like it would burn the world.
[You’re a wild one for a rat. You would have to have beaten the analyst sent to the Middle Earth if you came here.]
“Think what you want.”
[I like that. It makes a fight more fun.]
Hercules lowered his stick and removed his armor and bow.
[You remind me of the past. A rat like you wore strange clothes, did weird tricks, and was too forward. You’re the same, in fact.]
Ian could think of only one person he would remind Hercules of, Michelle Greenriver.
“What happened to that rat?”
[How would I know?]
[I promised that I would let that rat go if she lasted for ten minutes.]
[I thought she would not last a minute, but she hung on. I let her go, as a promise is a promise.]
Ian made a proposal on hearing those words, as he felt that they were sincere.
“Then, shouldn’t we fight under the same conditions?”
“If I’m the same kind of rat as the one you had seen, I want you to make that promise.”
Hercules sneered at Ian’s request and had to acknowledge that he was even crazier.
“Or, are you not confident?”
“That you cannot beat me in ten minutes.”
“I’m confident that I can last ten minutes and even win.”
Ian’s taunt made Hercules’s eyes light up red again from white.
[…All right I promise to rip your limbs apart. Also, I will go to the Middle Earth and stomp on everything you love.]
“If I last?”
[While such a thing will not happen, I will let you go. I will pretend I had not seen you.]
Hercules made a rash promise and looked around to see other Gigantes gather around at the noise.
[My fellow warriors will be the witnesses to my promise, so try to fight, Variant.]
Hercules was simple and straight compared other Superiors, and Ian thought he may gain more information from him than others. That was a silver lining.
Ian smiled and replied.
“Then, let’s begin.”
The two fought, and the result was a surprising one.
A long time ago, Hercules’s dream was to become the Olympus ruler and then become the king of the clock tower. That was when he would truly rule the world. He had to begin as a low-class ruler among the Olympus Hall, and he worked hard. He fought hydras, lions, and brought other various mythical creatures as offerings to the upper rulers.
As a result, Hercules was acknowledged as one of the Olympus Hall, and he had thought he would one day achieve his dream. However, he soon knew that he could never defeat the highest rulers, who belonged to the Chaos Hall, the greatest faction in the clock tower.
Hercules spent thousands of years wallowing in self-pity after realizing that unbridgeable gap.
However, right now, he felt that lost ambition in his chest upon seeing that rat, who had even wounded Hercules’s left arm after ten minutes. The gap between a mere Middle Earth rat and Hercules should be as deep as he and those of the Chaos Hall, but the gaping wound on his left arm said otherwise.
He felt something leap in his chest. If this rat could touch him, then…Hercules spoke.
[You have lasted ten minutes, and I will keep my promise. Go.]
“Will you really do so?”
[I always do.]
“I will believe you. I wish you will because I probably cannot beat you now.”
Hercules’s fists shook out of something akin to joy.
[I will ask one thing.]
“What is it?”
“Who are you?”
Ian touched his chin as he searched for an answer.
“It’s not Ian Pategua, for a start.”