I took a few days off. Just slept, relaxed, read some books - romance books, if you must know - and tried to hide from the public view. I let the guilds do their work. I had already done my part beforehand. While the core of adventurer’s guild stayed the same, there were some major changes. I also hoped that some platinum adventurers would calm down before I showed my face again. I already heard that younger and lower-ranked ones were pretty pleased with the changes.
But yes, I was afraid of the platinum adventurers...
But finally, a day came when I couldn’t really push all my appointments further away, without giving a proper explanation. So, I entered the adventurer’s guild, tired, and slightly annoyed. Immediately, I could see Alice waving her hand hard, standing up, and walking towards me from the hall room, smile on her face. She was cute like that.
“Good morning! Did you rest well?” she asked me.
I noticed Erica, who stared at me. “Yeah, Hiro… did you rest well?” she said..
I gazed at Alice, eyes squinted.
“Oops. I-I wasn’t supposed to say that out loud, did I?” Alice muttered. “I’m sorry.”
I sighed. “What’s the big deal? I’m like any other human and needed some rest,” I said, walking towards the reception. Alice walked next to me. “So, what’s up?”
Erica released a sigh. “Do you want me to get someone important, or are you happy with me and just listen to the request?”
“Whichever is faster and easier,” I said without a second thought. After already meeting the council members of the adventurer’s guild, I realized that it was stupidly exhausting to keep up the hero’s image. It was different, almost as every member of the council judged me as an adventurer.
“Well, remember the rule that every platinum adventurer has to do once a quarter something that will benefit the younger adventuring generation and we kind of decide or give some options for what they could do?”
“Besides doing some lower-ranked missions now and then. Yeah?” As I said all of that, I took a peek at the board. The lower-ranked quests were almost all gone. Right now they were rushing to take them to get their requirements done. But I hoped that once it becomes more constant, there should be always some lower-level options on the table. And if there wasn’t, it was only good.
“Well. You’re also in that category since you’re the hero. So, you also need to do one. And you’re also the example to many.”
I stared at Erica. “What?”
“Come on, now. You never said in any of those new rules that the hero is out. You said anyone who’s a higher rank than gold... which includes the hero rank, the highest.”
Those fuckers played me. Fuck… Fuck. FUUUCK, I thought.
“Oh, did I now?” I said, smiling.
“Yes,” Erica said, nodding. “But we don’t expect you to fully follow that. After all, you, as a Hero, have a lot of other important matters to attend to,” Erica said. “These are guild council’s words, not mine.”
“So. They ask you to just do this as a demonstration for the first time. And then we’ll see how it goes. Give it a good start. Everyone looks up to you, right now, and the new system is being tested. And you, as the hero who changed it, needs to be at the very front of those changes. At least at the beginning.”
Fuck, shit, fuck, shit, fuck!!! I kept thinking. Which brought me some nostalgia. Didn’t I think that in front of the Demon King?
“Okay, I understand,” I said, seemingly calmly as ever. “What do they want me to do?”
“Since from now on the lowest and starting adventurers can only start in the capital, we want you to take our small group of beginners there, stay there for a month yourself, and be a bit of a teacher as well. Give them some lessons, show them some ways, and be just… you. And then you’re free. However, you should remember that the results are important.”
I froze. I had to babysit children now?
“Since you’re in the party with two other people, and if they agree, they will accompany and help you. Since your third party member can’t be here right now, and it was kind of her idea in the first place, she will join you when you leave. But she already agreed.”
Alice smiled. “A third one?” She looks at me.
I felt sweat gathering. “A third one?” I asked, looking at Erica, intensely.
“What? You didn’t know? Isn’t Aldrynte part of your party? The fire wizard, who also happens to be a bard?”
That woman, I thought. Not that I minded, but she could’ve told me first.
“Is she now?” Alice said out loud, looking at me, smiling. But that smile was different. It was a very passive-aggressive smile. “When did you plan to tell me that?”
“I didn’t know either,” I said, sighing.
“Oh,” Alice said, thinking. “That does sound like her.”
“It does, right?” I said, shrugging, and smiling. Thankfully Alice was nice when it came to common sense and understanding. And perhaps it was good that someone as strong as a dragon was coming along, this time.
Alice began to chuckle.
“What?” I muttered.
“I just realized. I’m an ice mage. Aldrynte is a fire mage…” She giggled once more.
I couldn’t help but smile.
“You’ll get more details in the capital city. The king wants to meet you there as well. When you arrive, you’ll get a time scheduled.”
I sighed but nodded slowly. I knew that I could say no, but the council’s points were valid. And the fact that Aldrynte had suggested what to do made it even harder to refuse. She of all people knew about the real big bad evil, which meant that she might have some kind of a plan or good reasoning.
“You’re okay with this?” I asked, looking at Alice.
“I love children,” she said, smiling.
Erica raised her eyebrows. “I think you misunderstood.”
“Eh?” Alice muttered, looking at her.
“It’s an adventurer’s school. A new thing created by the hero. Kids won’t go there. So it’s full of mostly young adults that want to learn some basics. Just to make their start slightly easier.”
Alice frowned. “Ah, dealing with teenagers or barely out of it is so much pain in the ass. And I’m around their age, but suddenly so much up in the rankings. They will never respect me, and they’ll be so jealous,” she said slowly, sighing once more. “Argh.” She did get raised to high silver rank after the last quest, which is just below the gold.
“All adults, huh?” I said, smirking.
“No dirty thoughts!” Alice hit me gently to aside.
I grinned back. “You refused to go out with me. So…” I showed her tongue.
“That’s a very adult of you,” Alice said.
I laughed. “I'm the same age as you, slightly older. I’m barely out of the teenager status, so suck it.” Which, by the way, made me want to go home and read even more romance books. I needed to get myself in shape. Perhaps Elbert was right, I needed to enjoy my life a bit more.
“Idiot,” Alice muttered, looking away. “Sometimes you’re all adult-like. And then you’re just a kid.”
“Thank you for the compliment,” I said, nodding.
“A-ny-way…” Erica finally said. “Will you accept it?” she placed a paper in front of me, with quest and all the other information. “Or do you want to meet with the higher-ups to discuss it, or argue?”
“I’m fine,” I said, sighing. “I’ll go.”
“I’ll go too,” Alice said, gazing at me once more.
Sometimes, it was necessary to be just a kid, so we could survive in this harsh, serious, and cold world. But perhaps it was a good chance to have a vacation that lasted for a month.
What could go wrong, right?
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- Matthew E. Damson
I'm someone whose pen-name is Matthew E. Damson. Some others know me as Elven. I'm also known as elf, elfie, elves, pointy ears, and some more. To be honest, I have no idea why they call me other names, but they create nicknames, not me.
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