Noele the Noble Spellsword didn’t understand what just happened. Glutaz the Goblin Lord had been strong. With a single swing of its axe, it had felled the great walls of Windrip. And that was no small feat. The city was located at the edge of Briar Glen— a dangerous region teeming with monsters. The Astrad Kingdom had ensured that the city was well-equipped to deal with most threats, providing Windrip with powerful enchanted walls that could withstand a siege from a lesser army.
Yet, the Goblin Lord tore through it like it was made of glass. And then Glutaz proceeded to rampage through the city, killing thousands of guards and adventurers with ease as its army poured in and killed innocents. Even B-ranks had folded like paper in the face of the Goblin Lord’s wrath.
It took everything Noele had in her repertoire to even put up a fight against Glutaz. And while she had fared well while she lasted, eventually, she was completely overwhelmed. She had thought it was hopeless. That defeat was inevitable. Then suddenly, she was saved.
A brown-haired woman had shown up out of nowhere and killed the Goblin Lord in a single kick. Noele barely parsed what had happened. The Noble Spellsword’s mouth hung open as she watched Amelia take a step back.
The goblin horde immediately broke without a leader. They scattered, screaming in terror as Amelia simply glanced their way.
“Should we stop them or something?” she asked casually. “Will they, I dunno, come back for revenge later? That’s normally what happens, right?”
All that met her were blank faces of shock and surprise. Noele, the family— even Justyn. They just stared back at her as she frowned.
And it was Justyn who broke the silence. The [Receptionist] started forward, exclaiming.
“How did you do that? What was that? You don’t have a combat Class, but you killed the Goblin Lord in a single attack?”
“Uh, yeah, that is what I just did,” Amelia said with a shrug.
Justyn blinked a few times. Then he clutched his head, groaning. “That makes absolutely no sense…”
She shook her head. “What do you want me to say? That you imagined that all up and I didn’t just do that? I mean, I’d be lying, but if you really want me to say it, I will.”
“Just let me process this, alright?” He turned away from her.
Meanwhile, the family of four went up to her in tears. The father grabbed Amelia’s hand as he sobbed. “T-thank you so much for saving my family…”
“You’re amazing, Miss!” the two children said, and the mother made them bow their heads.
Amelia scratched the back of her head, looking unsure how to react. “Oh, uh, you’re welcome?”
They continued to thank her, showing their gratitude however they could, while she just stood there shifting awkwardly. Noele’s gaze shadowed over as she continued watching this sight. Amelia narrowed her eyes and quickly glanced back.
“Wait, the lycan drake—” She spun around. Then she froze as she stared ahead at nothing but a pile of rubble. Her brows snapped together. “Those fucking goblins took it! Those bastards! I will—”
The brown-haired woman started forward as she dangerously reached for the hilt of her sword. She only paused when she saw a figure barring her path. Noele stood there, brows arched high and casting a shadow over her gaze.
“Do you need something?” Amelia asked, frowning.
Noele took in a deep breath. Slowly, the B-ranked adventurer raised her head and met Amelia’s gaze. The brown-haired woman peered into the Noble Spellsword, clearly confused. And Noele looked up with sparkling white eyes.
“Please— teach me how to be as strong as you!”
Amelia blinked, taken off-guard for a second. Then she replied flatly, “No.”
Unfortunately, nearly half of Windrip had been destroyed during the battle yesterday. The Goblin Lord had caused a lot more destruction than I thought. And that caused problems for me in particular.
While I had lost the lycan drake’s corpse— even after chasing down those little goblin fucks— I still could qualify as an unofficial adventurer. After all, I was the one who defeated the Goblin Lord and saved Windrip. Justyn, a guild [Receptionist], had been there to witness it. So certifying me as an adventurer was only natural. I had thought I got my job secured, but Justyn bowed his head apologetically at me.
“I’m sorry, Ms Amelia,” he said in a polite tone. “But we cannot certify you as an adventurer right now, be it unofficial or not.”
“Are you being serious right now?” I asked, crossing my arms.
Justyn flinched before stepping to the side. “As much as I want to help you, Ms Amelia, there is nothing I can do about it because of… that.”
I watched as he gestured to the ruins that had once been the Adventurer’s Guild. It was now a pile of debris and ash. The Goblin Lord’s attack had brought the entire building down as the adventurers desperately banded together to fight off the invasion. While half of the adventurers in the city survived, the guild didn’t, and that meant Justyn couldn’t help me at all.
I sighed. “That’s a bit annoying.”
“Once the Adventurer’s Guild is back up and running in any capacity, I will ensure you are certified as an adventurer as soon as possible, I can assure you of that.”
Despite Justyn’s reassurance, I couldn’t help but be a little bit annoyed. This meant that I had nothing to do until the Adventurer’s Guild was rebuilt to some extent. Right now, the city was being repaired, with the surviving population either staying behind to help out, or fleeing further into the Astrad Kingdom to seek refuge and safety.
I wondered if it would be better for me to just leave Windrip like they did and find another city to become an adventurer in. I hadn’t been here for long. In fact, I had been here for exactly one day and a half now. So it wasn’t like I had any attachments to this city.
Well, there was Garron. He was vaguely an acquaintance, and I had heard he had been in pretty bad shape at the conclusion of the siege. But right now, he seemed fine.
I glanced down the street towards a gathering of adventurers. Garron stood atop a podium, bandaged and injured, but still addressing the crowd. They looked towards him like he was their leader. And maybe that was true. He was supposed to be their local B-ranked adventurer or whatever. A celebrity in the city, I guess.
I walked past them and reached market street. Despite the destruction, Brynn’s inn was fortunately one of the buildings that survived the siege. I found my way back to the still-standing inn and pushed the door open.
The common room was crowded with refugees and other survivors of the city. The innkeeper was rushing about with a pair of bamaids assisting her, serving food and drink out. I headed for the stairs and paused as I caught a glimpse of golden locks.
The blonde girl from yesterday stood right beside the stairway, her arms crossed and her head low. She leant on the railing, wearing a hood up to remain inconspicuous, but I recognized her immediately. Her name was Noele. Noele the Noble Spellsword. She was in much better shape than yesterday, but she still looked slightly wounded.
She looked up as I met her gaze.
“You…” I stared at the blonde girl. “Are you really still trying to get me to teach you or whatever?”
“I’m not here for that,” she said as she pushed herself off the railing. “I was just, uh… I’m staying at this inn.”
“Sure you do. My answer is still no.” I shook my head and started past her.
The blonde girl stood there, blinking as I walked up the stairs. Then she sputtered and hurried after me.
“What do you want now?” I rolled my eyes.
I arrived at my room and reached for the doorknob. But Noele slipped ahead of me, blocking my way. She was panting, looking up with a desperate look on her face.
“Please— you killed that Goblin Lord in one attack. I have never seen something like that in my life! You need to teach me how to become as strong as you!”
I drew back, frowning. “Didn’t you say you weren’t here to pester me about that?”
“I…” She pursed her lips. There was clearly no retort. But she shook her head, changing the subject. “I wasn’t! That was a slip of the tongue— I’m here because you didn’t claim credit for killing the Goblin Lord. You asked Justyn to keep it tight-lipped… why?”
“Because—” I started, then caught myself. I placed a hand on my chin in thought. “Actually, is there a reward for killing the Goblin Lord?”
“You can get a medal from the King of Astrad himself!” Noele said, nodding eagerly.
“Can I sell that medal?” I asked.
She hesitated. “I… don’t think so?”
“Then I don’t care.” I pulled her to the side and opened my door. “I’d rather not announce this feat to the world if it’s going to attract people like you. I just want to live in peace.”
Noele blinked. She stood there, watching as I entered my room. I was about to slam the door shut, when her eyes flickered. She stepped forward and caught the door from closing.
“Are you serious?” I stared at her.
“Wait!” she said as she tried to hold the door open. I exerted a little more force on the door, and she squeaked as she stepped back. “Seriously, please give me a chance.”
I scoffed and pulled the door open. “Fine. What is it?”
“Can I enter?” she asked, glancing into my room. “It’s going to be a bit of a discreet topic. I’d rather not talk about it out in the open.”
I eyed Noele suspiciously. I wasn’t sure what her ploy here was, but she genuinely looked worried. She looked back antsily, down towards the stairway where I could hear the raucous voices from the inn below. Finally, I acquiesced.
“Come in. But if you ask me to train you again, then I’ll kick you out immediately.”
“I won’t! I promise!” Noele exclaimed and hurried in.
I closed the door behind her and locked it shut. She smiled at me gratefully as she took a seat in my bed. I sat across from her, pulling up a chair.
“What do you want?” I asked, leaning against the table.
Noele cleared her throat. “Look, you’re strong. Very strong. I have never seen someone do anything comparable to that in my entire life. And I have seen S-ranks in battle.”
“Uh, thank you?” I wasn’t sure how to respond to that.
“But you’re talking about living a peaceful life— that you want to live in peace. And I understand that. However, what if I told you that that will not be possible? That no matter how hard you try, you will never be left alone?”
I scratched my chin. “I’d be pretty annoyed if that’s the case.”
“Well, it’s true,” Noele said as she held my gaze. “Because we’re currently living in the Age of Calamity.”
“The age of what?” I blinked.
She got to her feet and stood by the window, staring out. Her white eyes reflected on the glass surface as she spoke. “If you look around you— if you are astute and listen to what people say— you will always notice the same thing. That things haven’t always been this way. There are more disasters and catastrophes that have occurred in the last decade than happened in the last century.
“Whether it be Goblin Lords or Emperor Wyverns— orc hordes and colossal centipede swarms. Magical disasters, too, have scarred all of Vacuos in ways and numbers that have never been seen before in history. Plagues and pandemics are more prevalent than ever. Grand empires that have persisted for thousands of years have finally come to an end, and war is rampant while peace is forgotten.”
I furrowed my brows. I thought of the System. The Class it tried to force upon me. It wanted me to become the [Worldwalker Hero of Vacuos] for a reason, and it seemed this was why.
It had also only been three days since I escaped the Fractured Realm. And since I got here, I had encountered both a Lich King and a Goblin Lord. I did think it was rather unusual to face them one after another. But I had assumed it was a coincidence. Apparently, it was just becoming more commonplace now.
“This world will only spiral further into chaos,” Noele continued as she glanced back towards me. “And you will be caught up in the middle of it all. Whether or not you want to be involved doesn’t matter. Because this is the Age of Calamity, and if things continue this way, then perhaps Vacuos will never truly recover from it all.”
And she finished. For a moment, there was silence. I could hear the clamoring of the crowd below through the doorway— a muffled commotion. I saw the way Noele looked at me. I closed my eyes, thinking once again of the System’s words. Now, there was this warning too.
It seemed that no matter what I did, there was going to be trouble. Whether it would follow me or eventually catch up to me, it was still going to be there. Perhaps this was a sign— the System was showing me that my help was needed. I considered simply just accepting my Class as the [Worldwalker Hero of Vacuos]. But… I remembered the words it said.
You will forever devote your life to protecting the System.
And I made my decision. Sighing, I got to my feet. Noele looked on as I glanced towards her.
“Why do you fight, Noele?” I asked her. “What made you become an adventurer? Why do you even care about all this?”
“Why do I fight?” she repeated after me, blinking. Noele slowly looked down at herself as she raised the palm of her right hand. “I fight… because…” she trailed off.
I rolled my eyes. “Come on, you can’t just give me that whole speech and tell me you don’t know why you’re fighting.”
Noele gritted her teeth. She shook her head before holding my gaze. “I fight because I have to. Because I have no other choice.”
I saw the way she looked at me. I heard her words. And I nodded to myself. “I see.”
It was a difficult choice to make for me. But I made it anyway. I… wasn’t going to become the [Worldwalker Hero of Vacuos]. Because then I would be doing this for the System. I didn’t know this System, and I especially didn’t care about it either. So I saw no reason to do anything for it. But the people of Vacuos were innocent.
And if I was going to live in this world peacefully, then I couldn’t just ignore everything that happened around me. So, instead, I chose to help them in what ways I could.
“Fine,” I said, shaking my head. “You got me. I’ll teach you.”
“...what?” Noele stared at me, caught by surprise. “Are you serious? Wait— you’re not going to kick me out now, are you?”
I waved a hand off dismissively. “I’m being serious. I will help you become strong. But only if you do something for me in return.”
She straightened, clearing her throat. “I am prepared to do anything to train under you. I would be a fool to shy away from whatever you need of me.”
“I need…” I raised a finger, and she leaned closer.
“What is it, Amelia? Just tell me. I can get you a Dragonscale Chestplate. I can get you a Bloodshard Wand. If you want, I can even get you a Potion of Youth!” Noele gave me a determined look, ready to do anything I said.
I held out an open palm, and her eyes widened.
“I need you to pay me a hundred gold coins a month,” I said.
And Noele gaped at me. She tried to work her jaw, but only a stuttering came out. “You… can’t be serious, right? That’s it?”
I cocked my head at her. “What? Is it too expensive or something?”
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