Naofumi Iwatani, an uncharismatic Otaku who spends his days on games and manga, suddenly finds himself summoned to a parallel universe! He discovers he is one of four heroes equipped with legendary weapons and tasked with saving the world from its prophesied destruction. As the Shield Hero, the weakest of the heroes, all is not as it seems. Naofumi is soon alone, penniless, and betrayed. With no one to turn to, and nowhere to run, he is left with only his shield. Now, Naofumi must rise to become the legendary Shield Hero and save the world!
Chapter One: A Royal Summons
I’d gone to the library to do a bit of reading. My name is Naofumi Iwatani, and I’m a sophomore in college. I’m also aware that I am more of a nerd than the rest of my classmates. Ever since I first became interested in video games and anime and other Otaku past-times, I’ve given them more of my time than I give my actual studies.
My parents know this about me, and so they gave up on me early on. Instead they sent my brother to a famous prep-school in an effort to “secure his future.” But the pressure was too much for him. He got worn out with all the studying and turned into a troubled teen, dying his hair and yelling obscenities around the house. For a little while, the whole family was miserable.
But then a savior appeared to save the day: me! He was always scowling and mouthing off to everyone, but I had an ingenious plan up my sleeve: I suggested he try playing a game, a popular one. It was a dating simulator, the kind where you get to go on dates with cute girls.
“What the hell?”
“Just try it! You don’t have to commit to liking it.”
I said that because I knew the real reason he had turned into such a punk. When we were growing up, our parents had always given me whatever I asked for—but he had never received the same treatment. He wanted the freedom that I’d always had. I’m a specialist when it comes to having fun though, so he was interested in the game I suggested, if only because he knew I was an authority on fun. He told me this himself, later on down the line. I’ll just skip right to the end: there’s one more Otaku in the world now. If you walked into his room now, you’d see posters and figurines from the very same game I introduced him to. Not only that, but he also rededicated himself to his studies, got into a great school, and is apparently at the top of his class.
My parents were so happy about my intervention that they spoiled me even more as a result, so I am currently leading a very free life as a college student. Ok, so that was a bit of a digression. I had gone to the library to do a bit of reading. My parents give me an allowance of 10,000 yen every month. The naughty games and magazines, light novels and manga that my friends and I go through eat up that allowance pretty quickly. I have a part time job that brings in about 50,000 yen a month, which is great, but the various festivals I take part in during the summer and winter months use all that money as well.
My brother is not the sort of person to go out of his way to participate in a festival, but my parents rent a room for us near the festival grounds to encourage his participation. Well whatever, they have their own lives to live so they can’t give me all that much money. They try to help cover tuition and rent, so that’s plenty. So whenever I need to save money, when I don’t have all that much, I go to used bookstores or to the library to read. If I have free time, I like to play games online, but if you really want to be good at them there’s no end to how much time you could sink into a character.
Besides, I consider myself a jack-of-all-trades, and I’m not really the type to invest all my time in one particular thing. That, and even when I do get into a game, I don’t really care about leveling up my character. I just end up obsessed with gathering money in the virtual world. Even as I’m writing these words, I have characters and rare items that I collected up for sale. Thanks to those sales, I somehow managed to secure free time for myself in the real world. Ok then, so I was there in the library when all this craziness started. I was looking over an old bookshelf in the corner that was dedicated to fantasy novels. I think that fantasy has a history at least as long as recorded human history. I mean, if you really think about it, even the Bible is a type of fantasy novel.
The Records of the Four Holy Weapons?
This really old-looking book just fell off the shelf. The title was pretty hard to make out, and I guess whoever had been reading it last hadn’t taken the time to put it back securely. Whatever. Figuring it was probably destiny, I brought it back to the table, sat down, and opened it.
It was the kind of book that starts off by telling you about the fantasy world itself. To sum it up, it seemed to be about a different world, one with an apocalyptic prophecy to worry about. The prophecy said that many waves of great destruction would wash over the world until nothing was left. To stave off disaster and escape destruction, the people would call for heroes from another world to come and save them. Or something like that, anyway. Hmm, well the idea seems pretty cliché now, but something about the book being that old felt, ironically, fresh. So the four heroes each possessed a weapon. Sword, spear, bow, and shield. I started to wince at the content. I mean, when you think about it, a shield is not even a weapon at all. Anyway, I started to skim ahead. The four of them went on a journey to train, gather strength, perfect themselves, and stop the prophesied destruction of the world. My head jerked. I’d nearly fallen asleep in my seat. It was all too much, I was yawning. And the book was so old-fashioned. I mean, there were no cute heroines at all. The only girl was the princess, and she was horrible because she was manipulative and obsessed with the heroes. She kept casting flirtatious glances at all of them, pitting them against each other. I wished she would just pick one of them to focus on. The Sword Hero was active and powerful; the Spear Hero valued and protected his friends, and the Bow Hero would never tolerate injustice. All the heroes were good people with great personalities. There aren’t many stories like that these days. You know the kind where all the characters share the protagonist spotlight? What’s this? The story was shifting to talk about the Shield Hero.
I turned the page and let out an involuntary yelp. All the pages after the introduction of the Shield Hero were blank. I kept flipping, kept looking them over, but they were all blank, white pages. There was nothing else in the book.
“What the heck?”
I was thinking over how strange it all was when I started to feel dizzy.
“Huh? What’s…” I heard my own bewildered whisper and felt my consciousness slipping away… I’d never dreamed that I’d be transported to another world.