|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3310 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1535 words|
“Excuse the intrusion, but Bordaule’s hero is here.”
A knight announced and after him, my friends I had not seen in days entered the room. I was still on edge after being on a large battlefield, but once I saw their faces I felt my body relax again. Luvias was composed like always, but Karin and Ciel looked like they were about to come running towards me. They managed to contain themselves though, noticing the king of Strom and the hero of Lumielle were here as well.
“I’m pleased to make your acquaintance, your majesty. I’m Luvias, hero of Bordaule. These are my party members, Karin, Ciel, and Diaria.”
“Ohh, now this is a pleasant surprise. I’m sure you had to endure a long trip to get here, so please relax, there’s no need to be so formal around here.”
“…As you wish.”
Luvias knelt as she introduced herself, the rest hurrying to mimic her. The king smiled pleasantly upon seeing them. When the battle had just ended, he had looked quite stressed seeing the city in ruins, but he had started to regain his usual friendliness. That was a natural reaction for a king seeing his people slaughtered though.
“We heard the news that an army of monsters was attacking your country, so we rushed here as fast as we could. It seems we arrived too late to be of any help though.”
“Don’t worry, the thought is what counts. Thankfully Lapis and Freya were already here, otherwise we…I really don’t know what would’ve happened to us.”
Saying that, the king bowed deeply to all of us. He did not question rank or nobility, when he had to respect someone, he did it. That was a rare sight amongst royalty, most of the nobles I had met before would take commoners serving them for granted. This king was of a rare breed.
“You’re too kind, sir. There’s still a chance more demons might attack though, so we’ll stay here for the time being. Bordaule has also dispatched an army of reinforcements, which should be arriving in a few days.”
“I really can’t thank you enough for your support.”
Usually, people who never fought before would question the arrival of an army after a battle was over, but soldiers could be useful for more things than just fighting. While their main employment was to keep the people safe, they were trained strong men that could help clear the rubble in the city, transport the wounded, plow some land to grow crops sooner, or even help build some simple houses. Many people had died in Strom, so any helping hand they could receive was welcome. And they would obviously pay them for their support afterward.
We spent around an hour there talking about all sorts of things, but eventually, I felt like we were being a nuisance for the king who had a lot of work to do rebuilding the city, so we wanted to leave to check on other cities. The king wanted us to stay there and rest for longer, but the city was already in a critical state with the lack of resources and workers, so we declined politely to not place even more burdens on them.
“I promise I’ll return the favor one day. I speak for all the people of my country, thank you.”
The king personally saw us off as we left the mansion. While we pondered which city to go to next, Freya suddenly raised her hand.
“I’m sorry everyone, but Lumielle’s hero’s party and I will return to our country.”
I had thought we would continue working together, so that decision was unexpected. Freya had the same friendly smile as always, so I could not read her thoughts. Had she come to hate my company maybe? But I did not remember doing anything for her to dislike me. Freya seemed to notice my internal struggle and she spoke with a difficult smile.
“It’s really nothing that important. It’s just that I still have to report back to my country. I’m pretty sure I mentioned it before, but I only came here as a messenger.”
“Ahh, I remember something like that.”
She had spoken about that while we had lunch in the mansion, she came to Strom to request permission to build more temples and spread Lumiere’s religion. But then the attack happened and she offered her help.
“There has been no confirmation yet, but I’m sure Lumielle also sent relief troops here, so I’ll let them take care of protecting and rebuilding the cities. Meanwhile, I’ll check in with my superiors again and discuss countermeasures for future attacks.”
“I see…I guess this is goodbye for now then. Stay safe until we meet again, I really appreciated having you here.”
I offered her my hand, and she shook it with a gentle smile.
“You were of more help than I was. I’ll keep working hard so next time we meet I can be a little closer to the power you showed me. Stay safe.”
Freya looked like a very gentle girl, but she was still a hero and could make swift and resolute decisions. Once we were done talking, her party left towards one of the gates and vanished without looking back in the crowd of busy people rebuilding the city.
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“And she’s gone.”
“Still…she was able to defeat Ditoner, who we struggled so much against…”
“She’s actually getting ahead of us somehow.”
“We’ll just have to work even harder and catch up to her again then.”
Hearing Freya’s results in the battle motivated Luvias and the others to keep working hard. If I had to be blunt, I did not think there was that big of a difference between their strength and Freya’s, the only reason they had struggled against Ditoner was simply that he was a bad match for them.
The holy magic Freya cast on the entire city had affected all of the demons and monsters, even Ditoner, with Lacus being the only exception. On top of that, her party consisted of multiple priests that could instantly heal her during a fight, while in ours only I could do that. Luvias knew some simple healing spells, but those were almost useless amidst a fight. Freya fought literally with her body on the line, sacrificing flesh and bone as needed, fully trusting that her support would keep her alive and healthy. She would always have the upper hand in any slow fight that way, as long as she could heal faster than her opponent. But she still had the risk of being pitted against someone with enough power to keep hurting her before she healed, which would end very badly for her.
On the other hand, I thought it was best to keep them motivated instead of comforting them, that way they would train more earnestly and get better.
“We’ll continue training as soon as we are back then. You all seem ready to go, so I’ll be a bit more strict too.”
“That’s just how I like it!”
“P-please don’t go overboard with me…”
“I’ve been wanting to learn more powerful spells too, so maybe it’s finally time to give it a try.”
“I guess I’ll have to join you all then?”
They all were willing to train harder, so I was sure I would see them get stronger soon.
We left the city with Flight Magic and began making rounds through other cities. When we had to rest we stayed in a city that looked to be in pretty good shape. It was located in an interesting spot, a considerable distance from the cities ravaged by war, but quite close to the border with Bordaule. The people there seemed to be a bit nervous still, but life was returning to normal already.
As soon as we entered the city we entered one of the many inns, the owner greeting us with a smile. Apparently, all the guests that had been staying there had all left at the same time that morning.
“I was unsure if the inns would be open, but we got a room more easily than I expected.”
“They’re opening the gates again after all. Being unable to leave a city is like a career suicide for a merchant, so they probably all left as soon as they could.”
Merchants were always like that, no matter the situation they were in, making money was a priority. We rented a large room, where we threw all of our luggage and then fell onto the beds. Luvias and the rest were exhausted from their trip, and I was still tired and stressed from fighting seriously after so long. We had a lot of time before it was time to eat, so taking a nap was our best option. When I looked at my friends again, Karin and Diaria were sound asleep already, while Luvias and Ciel were nodding off.
“Well, I doubt anyone would try attacking us here, but…”
Just in case I cast a barrier that would alert me if someone with ill intent approached us, and I fell asleep just like them.