Author’s Note: That’s right, I gave in and wrote a prologue to yet another project. This was inspired by Reigokai’s current translation project, QualiA. But instead of being summoned more times than Kouki from Arifureta, the MC of this new one I’m writing has been… I’m sure the title says it all. Anywho, please enjoy?
I Reincarnated Too Many Times – Prologue
You know how a lot of light novels and manga have a protagonist who has reincarnated? Well, I reincarnated myself. However… I’ve done so more than once. To be honest, I lost count on how many times I’ve reincarnated so far. I’ve been many things. I was a hero, a demon king, a sage, a saint, and even a mob. And all of them more times than I can count. I’ve even reincarnated into worlds of otome and galge games, though I didn’t always know it. Heck, I’ve been both man and woman. To be honest, I don’t even remember my original name from my first life in Japan. The only reminder I have from that time is a long-dead smart phone and a student ID that’s so faded that I can’t even recognize the name on it. I don’t even remember how I died.
From what my old friend Pauline, the Judge, Juror, and Executioner of the dead told me, the program that I got put on for eternal reincarnation got banned. There are two reasons for this. First, I keep getting more powerful with each life I live. Second… there’s only so much a human soul can take. The last time I died and spoke with her, she told me that I’m on my last life. I know the drill, my memories always come back around the time that I’m seventeen years of age. However… my last life already stinks.
Turns out I was a villager who became a gladiatorial slave. I managed to win my freedom when I was fifteen and reunited with my childhood sweetheart. From then on, we became adventurers. However, I was asked by the empire to fight in the war with the Demon King. I fought him and won not to long after I regained my memories. However, there is no happy ending to this tale. Duke Swallow’s son Edger was always jealous of me. Despite the fact I was a former slave, the empire depended on my strength and I had gained so many achievements. So he abducted my beloved and… I became a victim of netorare.
As for revenge, what did I do? Simple, I used my popularity. It was mainly Edger Swallow himself who didn’t like me. So I left the empire and a note to the emperor:
“Blame the heir of the Duke Swallow house.”
That’s right, my name in this life is Leon Gray. The emperor himself bestowed the name of “Grey” because he couldn’t figure out if I was good or bad. I did do some things underhanded when facing the demon army after all. Anyway, that note became the downfall of the Duke Swallow house. Because a precious asset to the empire left due to their antics, the influence of the Duke Swallow house fell. Their territory even went to ruin because not too many people wanted anything to do with them. The only ones who stayed were those too stubborn to leave the land that they were born. Tax revenue, influence in the courts, you name it. The damage was very severe to them. There was only one reason Edger still inherited his father’s rank; that being there were no other living heirs.
Where did I go? There’s a small town that borders the empire, the Beastman Kingdom, the Oceania Republic, and the Demon Country. It’s called Vrede, the one place where race doesn’t matter. In this town, you are free from the wars and tyranny of the four countries. And due to lack of governmental influence, the Adventurers’ Guild has their headquarters here. Even though the building isn’t too big, it’s still where the Head Guild Master runs things. Why am I talking about it? Simple, it’s where you’ll find me.
A guy in his thirties, long dark hair and a shaggy beard. Usually wearing a short-sleeved brown tunic and black pants. And always seated at the same corner table doing nothing but eating. Yeah, that’s how I decided to live my last life. Just enjoying myself. Though I look like I’ve gained a little weight, I’m still the strongest in this and any other world. Every now and then some young punk who doesn’t know who I am starts up a fuss asking how someone like me could be an adventurer. But the locals know better than anyone, so they just stand there to watch the show. It’s usually the punk getting mad and trying to attack me, only for me to catch and break their weapon before lifting them up by the back of their collars and throwing them out of town… from the entrance to the guild. Mainly I do it so they don’t get caught by the guild master or the Head Guild Master. I don’t want them to have to pay hefty fines in addition to weapon repairs.
Now on today’s menu, Seafood Pasta with ingredients from the Oceania Republic. It’s a maritime country run by merchants, so there’s always fish coming from there. As I am trying to enjoy my meal, an unfamiliar face enters the guild. Well… she was unfamiliar and familiar at the same time. She had green eyes and long straight blond hair in a fringe with a white hairband. Her armor consists of a silver breastplate, gauntlets, and grieves. The weapon that hangs from her left hip is an Estoc, a sword with a long needle-like blade that is meant for piercing between the gaps in an opponents armor. As for what was under her armor, a short dress that was too short for a girl her age by my own personal opinion. She walked up to the receptionist before walking towards my table.
“Are you the man known as Leon Gray of the Empire?” (girl)
“Nope, I’m just Leon Gray. You must have me confused with someone else.”
I was being frank with my response because I smelled trouble. But not long after I replied, some sap with blond hair and blue eyes wearing some extravagant armor entered. He was a complete ikeman with that short messy hair and crooked smile that could be seen on almost every otome game cover.
“Lady Sofia, it’s dangerous to separate from me. In a town such as this, who knows what kind of riffraff will try to get close to you?” (ikeman)
“Sir Grave, I think I found him.” (Sofia)
She replied to him ignoring his whole entire warning. Then again… that warning seemed to be more out of narcissism than genuine worry. And… what’s with the name “Grave”? This guy looked the furthest thing from edgy if possible. Anyway, he looked at me in disbelief.
“This tubby plebeian cannot be the legendary Leon Gray! The same man who stole the hearts of many maidens back in our precious empire, there’s no way!” (Grave)
“But he has to be! I mean, we’ve searched all over before even finding out he’s in Verde. And he’s the only one that the guild receptionist knows as Leon Gray.” (Sofia)
This is getting on my nerves.
“Hey you kids, mind not disturbing a retired old man’s meal?
“How dare some impostor of our empire’s greatest hero take that tone with I, the soon to be legendary Grave Raven of the empire’s Viscount Raven House! And to lady Sofia Swallow of the empire’s Duke Swallow House!” (Grave)
I knew of the Raven house, I never cared for those jerks. But to name their child “Grave”? What the hell were they thinking! And wait a moment…
“Did you say that this young lady is Duke Swallow’s daughter?”
“I see the impostor of our empire’s greatest hero knows the names of empire nobility? But yes, she is the eldest daughter of–” (Grave)
“Girly, are you stupid?”
I couldn’t help but to interrupt that brat boy. But I had to question the girl’s sanity.
“What do you mean by that?” (Sofia)
“Girly, if you’re really Edger Swallow’s daughter… then you should know that I’m the last person you ought to meet.”
“You cur! You dare threaten a daughter of the empire’s Duke Swallow house!?” (Grave)
That stupid brat boy…
“Brat, shut up. And other brat, get out of my sight.”
I said those words with as little killing intent as possible. The adventurers in the guild were looking like they could use some popcorn about now because it looked like the show was about to begin. That’s what they call it when I teach punks their place. But instead of heeding my words, the brat boy through a glove in my face. After it landed on my Seafood Pasta when it fell from my face, I picked it up and moved it to the side before taking my fork and twirling some of the pasta around. That brat then made a mistake of taking my plate and smashing it on the floor. When I looked at his face, it was redder than a cherry tomato.
“You dare ignore a challenge to a duel?” (Grave)
“Duels are something sacred between nobles and aristocrats. I’m a commoner, so why should I accept a duel from some noble brat? And better yet, you just did something unforgivable.”
I said that while standing up and slightly increasing the killing intent and focusing it more on him. Though he was going from red to pale, he was trying to keep up his composure from before.
“And what c-could be m-more unforgivable than i-ignoring a d-duel?” (Grave)
“You just wasted food. And not just any food, but my food. Brat, you wanted a fight? Well, now you got one. Outside, now!”
The crowd parted like the Red Sea from the Christian bible, clearing a pathway to the door. Everyone in Verde knows not to make me angry. And it was time for this brat to find out why. After we walked out to the street, the locals stopped their hustle and bustle to be sure that their was room. I could see some minor regret on the brat’s face when he looked at the surroundings. All I could do is crack my fists.
“What are you waiting for? I’ll let you strike first.”
“But… you are without weapon? Wouldn’t it be a slaughter if I faced an unarmed man?” (Grave)
“Brat, it’s time you seen how big the world really is. I don’t need a weapon.”
He gulped, but still tried to keep his composure. His weapon of choice seemed to be a broadsword with ornate engravings and decorations. It looked like it would cost a very pretty penny. Anyway, he got into his stance before trying to lunge at me with a diagonal slash from his right. But I caught the blade with only two fingers. He tried to move it, but his sword wouldn’t budge. I then put a little strength into my index and middle fingers before the blade snapped.
“What in the–” (Grave)
Before he could finish, I punched him in his solar plexus. Though I hit his armor, it shattered in contact before he flew into a fruit stall. By the looks of things, he was unconscious. The crowd cheered as I raised my fist up in victory. Normally, someone overpowered like myself would be hiding their strength from the populous. Well… that’s the cliché of the isekai-genre. But for me, I’ve had enough of it. Throughout my many previous lives, I’ve learned that it’s better to let the world know of me. There were many times where I wished that I never hid my strength because people important to me died. It was for all of those I couldn’t protect in my past lives that I decided to never hide what I can do. Not to mention… hiding my own strength started driving me crazy about three-hundred lives in, I think? I lost count after life two-hundred and ninety-seven.
Anyway, that girl walked up to me.
“How did you do that? Both Sir Grave’s sword and armor are made out of Orichalcum?” (Sofia)
“Oh really? Nothing short of dark matter is unbreakable in my case.”
I had replied to her in a sheepish smile. But her eyes started to gleam. Oh no… this better not be some kind of flag!
“You really are Leon Gray! Please, I need your help!”
She didn’t have to shout. Oh well, time to refuse her.
“But… you’re the legendary Leon Gray. The same Leon Gray that the empire has statues of in the capital. The Leon Gray that all little boys aspire to be like. Why won’t you help me?” (Sofia)
“Girly, do you even know the history between me and your father?”
“No… did something bad happen between you two?” (Sofia)
For the love of… how could she not know!?
“Ask your father.”
“I can’t. For some strange reason, your name is a taboo in our house. But no one would explain why it’s a taboo.” (Sofia)
“Wait… didn’t you learn about me in school?”
“My father had me schooled from home instead of attending the academy. All my life I’ve been a bird in some cage. It was only recently I learned about the state that the Duke Swallow House is in. It was by chance that I managed to find a copy of “The Heroic Tales of Leon Gray” that a servant dropped. About a handsome rogue who overcame his fate of slavery after his village was attacked and became the empire’s hero by defeating the Demon King, it was a great tale. However, it ended with the hero mysteriously leaving the empire. Some say he decided to save other lands in peril, others say that he was really the lover of the goddess Aria and walked his way to Mount Wolken to reunite with her, and then there are those who say he retired to live a slow life.” (Sofia)
“Hey, wait a moment. Did someone honestly write a book about me?”
It wouldn’t be the first time. I have volumes of books about me from my many lives in all of my storage and inventory windows. Hey, each life had a different system when it came to abilities. And it looks like I have another book to add to the collection.
“How else would a girl as sheltered as I know of you? I don’t know what happened to cause my family to go into decay, but I do know that if I could somehow bring a great achievement to the Swallow family that we could rise again. So please, help this girl that’s ignorant of the ways of the world?” (Sofia)
I almost felt bad for the girl, but I cannot help her. Her father was the reason I left the empire in the first place. Then again… I am the reason why her house is in it’s current condition as well. Though I wanted to get back at that bastard Edger for what he did to me, I ended up getting his whole family involved. His father lost face for how Edger turned out. And people fled the territory because they didn’t want to be involved with the house that drove away the hero who defeated the Demon King. So am I responsible? Yes, I am. Do I feel guilty about it? The answer is…
“But, why? What do I have to do to have your help?” (Sofia)
“Oh sorry, I was lost in thought. But the answer is the same, I refuse to help out anyone of the Duke Swallow House.”
“No buts. Look brat, your father burned me a long time ago. I’d rather not get into details about it. So go back home, try asking your father’s subjects about it. When you learn the truth, you will understand why I refuse to help.”
Hopefully that will teach her? I mean, it does hurt my pride that I was NTR’d. So yeah, I don’t want to be the one to explain it to her. However…
“I refuse.” (Sofia)
“I will never give up. Even if the legendary hero is no longer the handsome man he used to be, I will not give up seeking his help. I will not learn the truth between you and my father unless it’s from your mouth. I won’t even ask Sir Grave about it. So until you’re willing to help me or tell my why you refuse, then I will keep coming to the Adventurers’ Guild every day asking for your help. By my pride as a noble, I refuse to give up.” (Sofia)
That attitude… she reminds me of her. Wait a moment, so does some of her features. Oh don’t tell me…
“Brat, have you ever asked your mother?”
“My mother… she’s not the best person to ask anything. Lately she’s been ill. I’m lucky if she remembers my name. She lives in a house near Swallow Manor, but near the gate of the property. For some strange reason, father wasn’t able to marry. But then again, asking about it is also a taboo.” (Sofia)
Damn my luck… Sofia’s her daughter. Did Edger not really send Sofia here to taunt me?
“I see. Anyway, do what you want. But never in a million years will I ever lift a finger to help out anyone sired by Edger Swallow.”
I then walked back into the guild where the barmaid had already cleaned up the mess and brought me a fresh plate of the Seafood Pasta. I sat down and started eating only for that damned girl to take a seat at the table next to mine. I knew at the time that it would be a battle of stubbornness. But little did I know at the time… that after being alive for so long if you counted all my previous lives, I would meet my match when it came to being stubborn.
After Note: Yeah, it’s the beginning on what’s supposed to be a slow life novel… with some slice of life? Nah, let’s avoid the latter. Anyway, I ended up getting inspired by QualiA. But I was thinking of my past works, I remembered something. It was the banned program that Sigmund put Shiro, Yuto, and Kuro under in LGDK chapter 25, I never said how or why it was banned. Not only does the reincarnated person keep getting stronger with each life (to the point where Leon can rival a Higher God), but it burns out the soul for a while. When Leon dies this time, that’s it. There’s nothing left of his soul, it’s at it’s final embers. So what does he do? He decides to enjoy this life as his long deserved retirement. After living so long only to be NTR’d, do you blame him?
Mainly with Leon, I wanted to do something that I haven’t done before. A protagonist who has been through the wringer to the point that he doesn’t care anymore. Someone who has seen more than the Oracle, nothing left to lose unlike Lost Justice, doesn’t get surprised by let downs like Yuki, and even sticks to his guns more than Coy. I can’t really find anything to compare with Niko though… but that don’t matter. Leon’s been reincarnated so many times that he’s somewhat numb. He’s been a hero, a villain, and even a mob. There were times that he conquered the world he reincarnated to because he had nothing better to do. But eventually he just got board with it all. The only reason he’s a retired hero right now because he got himself involved in this mess before he regained his memories. He only defeated the demon king to retire faster. But despite his numbness, he cannot bring himself to help Sofia out of principle. Though he doesn’t really mind what happened to him because he got even, he cannot bring himself to help the daughter of the woman who was taken from him and the man who did it. For him, it’s proof that he still has humanity somewhere.
Anywho, not too sure on how often I’m gonna update this one. I’m still trying to work on a chapter for TOG and some more on that Soulcalibur fanfic reboot. Still, I hope you all enjoyed this?