"Wh-What the Hell?! What just happened?!"
Finally coming to the realization that I hadn't taken even a hint of damage, the bandit that had thrust his weapon into me goes pallid. I use my right hand to seize him by his clothes and hoist him up before carelessly tossing him aside.
In doing so, I appear to have launched him toward the far end of the horizon and into the sky, making him sail through the air with the speed of a jet plane. In the distance, he turns into a beautifully twinkling star. Damn it all; I used way too much power for that throw…
"What the Hell is he…?!"
"Who is this guy…?!"
Visibly disturbed, the bandits all back away by a few steps. I make use of the opening created by their hesitation, and…
"Villagers, heed me! Gather behind me if you don't want to die!"
I call to them in a sonorous voice, and the villagers take my words to heart as they form a noisy cluster behind me, their minds still in disorder.
"Incantation: Absolute Barrier!"
An enormous barrier is erected in the space between the villagers and I. This is an ultimate barrier, one that neither physical attacks nor sorceries can break through. This should be enough to keep the villagers from becoming live target practice for these bandits, and any initial worry that they would become involved in this matter is hereby placated.
"Now then, my dear bandits, what seems to be the matter? Does this display terrify you?"
Once again, I find myself face-to-face with the pack of bandits.
"M-Men! Attack him together!"
One of the bandits - their leader, it would seem - issues his orders. All moving as one, the bandits raise their voices and let out a collective war cry as they rush towards me and wave their weapons about. Feeling a little bold, I don't take a single step from where I'm standing and accept the brunt of every single attack they throw at me. Following their attacks, a great number of arrows rain down from above and onto my body. I still take absolutely no damage, just like before.
"Such a wasteful act… It doesn't matter how much you try to multiply it by; a zero will always remain a zero. Didn't you learn that when you were children?"
I try to add some measure of ridicule to my tone. The expressions of the bandits morph into ones of pure shock.
"Why didn't our attacks work…?!"
"D-Don't you lot dare get weak knees! The bastard's just using some kind of magic that negates physical attacks! Someone just attack him with a spell!"
"Time for me to shine! Disaster Cannon!"
One of the bandits faces me and fires off a purple beam. Oh, so even the humans of this world can cast magic. Wouldn't have expected to see them use the same spell I own. But still…
The beam connects with my body to make a direct hit, whirling up a cloud of dust around me as it does.
"Ha… Hahahahaha…! See, I told you spells would work! Now all of you, charge -"
"Work? Your eyes don't appear to fully functional, do they? Something of this caliber isn't even enough to give me a massage."
I use my right hand to wave away the cloud of dust and debris. The bandits just gape at me in amazed silence. It looks like I hadn't been wrong in my first assumption; his magic is nothing compared to my own.
HP: 9,999,999,999 / 9,999,999,999
Still no damage, huh…? Doesn't this make my HP little more than a decoration? I had been curious and wanted to experience what it would feel like to actually lose some HP, but it doesn't look like that's going to go anywhere.
"But I must say, what a lucky coincidence. I happen to know that very same spell. Why don't you let me teach you how it's done?"
I silently guide my finger to point at the bandit.
The purple beam that springs from my fingertip connects and creates a great explosion, sending all the bandits cartwheeling through the air. Needless to say, despite the effect I had made sure to repress my own power even more than the last time I'd used this spell. After all, if I don't go about this as delicately as I can, I might just wind up destroying the villagers' homes along with the bandits.
"Despite appearances, I happen to be quite sympathetic to humans… Normally, I would never do anything to spill blood among them. For brutes like you, on the other hand, I'm willing to make an exception."
Slowly but surely, I move closer to the groveling bandits.
"Allow me to play the divine benefactor and judge you for your follies."
"D-Don't move! Don't you care if they get hurt?!"
Far behind their ranks is a group of young women. A lone bandit directs his sword toward the group and makes a few stabbing motions.
Huh? Aren't all the villagers supposed to be behind me right now…?
Oh, right. I do remember hearing something about gathering all the women that looked as if they could make some money. That means that those girls are the ones he and the bandits rounded up. If my Disaster Cannon had been just the tiniest bit off-course, they would have probably been hit by the blast too.
"Disgusting… So there's nothing left for you to do but to take a few hostages, is there?"
My words are accompanied by a deep sigh. Professing my empathy for humans had turned into an Achilles' heel.
"Look here, don't you dare budge now, get it?! If you take even one step -"
In the blink of an eye, I appear behind the bandit and introduce his skull to my knuckles. His body takes the impact and buries itself deep into the ground beneath.
"Even if you're just going to pretend being a bandit, you should still learn how to take a proper hostage."
I should probably mention that I hadn't used the Teleportation spell just then. With an AGI stat of 99,999 (speed, if you'll recall), it had been a simple task to just run and position myself behind the bandit. That said, I do realize that to any normal human being it wouldn't appear to be anything other than a teleportation spell.
"H-He's a monster!"
The bandits scatter and leave the village like a scuttling group of newly-hatched spiders.
Well then, I think I've done more than enough. I suppose I had ample chance to blow the lot to bits, but I do want to spread the impression that the High King is 'an all-around swell guy,' and that is the reason I'm even here to begin with. Any more work on my part would probably just have the opposite effect of what I wanted to achieve.
"There's nothing to worry about anymore. This village has been saved."
I turn back to the group of villagers behind me and drop the absolute barrier. Some let out cheers of pure joy; some find themselves so relieved that they can't hold back their tears, and others go to hold their family members in their arms. I have to say, doing good deeds really makes you feel all fuzzy inside.
"Thank you for saving this village. We can't thank you enough…"
An elderly man with white hair walks to me and bows his head. He must be this village's chief.
"Raise your head. I only did what had to be done."
The former human that I am, I can't help but feel that talking to an elder in this manner is a just a mite rude of me. Then again, acting formally in this situation would probably feel even more out of place…
"I must ask, just who are you? You don't appear to be human…"
"I am the High King."
Once those words leave my mouth, every single villager goes dead silent. It's as if they'd become frozen in time.
Oh dear, what's with this mood? Is it just me, or are these people getting whiter and whiter…?
"The High King…?!"
"Is that the one who's said to rule over all demons, the strongest of the bunch?!"
"W… We're going to get killed…!"
I'm not going to kill you, where'd that even come from?! Just why do you people think I saved you in the first place?!
"W-We will give you everything we have to offer… So please, spare our lives at the very least…!"
Even the village chief in front of me looks like he thinks the end of days is just around the corner, shaking like a leaf as he stands there. What the Hell does he think I am?
"You're all mistaken. I did not come to this village for that."
"T-Then whatever could you…?"
"Well, to put it simply… I really just came here to up my image."
"… 'up' your 'image'?"
The villagers look completely confounded.
"This world, as a whole… is full of people who view the High King as the source of all evil. But that just isn't the truth. I am an ally of justice; a being that will bring about joy and well-being to all of you."
I give them all a thumbs-up.
None of the villagers react. None of them. I feel embarrassment taking hold of me as my entire body heats up…
What am I even saying…?