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A note from MelasDelta

I hope you guys had a good weekend :)

I sure did, just look at the new cover

It took a while, but I managed to save most of the townspeople who were in critical condition. I got to them with a healing potion on time, saving them from their most grievous wounds, even if I had to use my entire supply.

Of course, I couldn’t save everyone. Plenty of people had died before I even got here. But I saved everyone I could, and that was enough for me. I wanted to just leave right away, however I was stopped by an elderly man who looked like he was a [Mayor] of sorts.

“Thank you, adventurer,” he said as he bowed low. “For saving Stanlowe from those accursed fiends. May the Guardian Angels guide you with their light.”

I shrugged. “Uh, thanks. But if you really want to repay me, you can just pay me back for those healing potions I used.”

He drew back and spoke apologetically. “I believe you can be recompensed at the nearest large city. The Astrad Kingdom has an active bounty on the Frenzied Five after they burned down half the western countryside and killed hundreds of thousands over ten years ago.”

“These idiots did all that?” I raised a brow, eyeing the four remaining corpses lying around. Only Emory’s body was gone, having been completely obliterated just five minutes ago so he couldn’t regenerate.

“Not alone. They’re merely a smaller part of a large bandit group— the Miststorm Riders. I’m sure you heard of them. They have thousands of members and are rather infamous for their cruelty.”

I paused. I recognized that name. Those were the assholes who killed Noele’s sister. My brows furrowed as I wondered how the blonde girl would react if I told them I had killed them. She was either going to be ecstatic or upset that she couldn’t exact revenge herself.

That was going to be a pain in the ass to navigate.

The [Mayor] continued as these thoughts plagued my mind. “Perhaps even the Adventurer’s Guild will have a reward for you too. There is also a bounty in place at the Mercenary’s Guild… although, I don’t believe you can claim it since you aren’t a mercenary.”

“Well, I’ll just make do with the Adventurer’s Guild and the Astrad Kingdom’s reward.” I shook my head as I turned around.

Over a third of the town had been badly damaged by the Frenzied Five over such a short amount of time, and its surviving people were mulling over what they had lost and how they would recover. While I didn’t mind jumping in when I saw a group of attacking bandits, I wasn’t going to help out with the repairs.

I knew nothing about construction or architecture. Chances were that I’d probably fuck up more than I helped out in this regard. So I was about to take my leave, grabbing a corpse over my shoulder, when a voice called out after me.

“Wait!”

I glanced back as a boy dashed out of the crowd of survivors. I recognized him as the kid Adrian had been about to kill— the one I saved just in time. He sprinted past the [Mayor] who could only stare in shock.

“You’re amazing!” the boy exclaimed. “Take me with you! Teach me how to become just like you!”

The [Mayor] caught the boy moments later, and lowered his head as he apologized profusely. “I am so sorry about this. Please, he means no disrespect.”

“It’s fine,” I said, waving a hand dismissively. I eyed the boy who was scowling in the [Mayor]’s arms. “Sorry, kid. I already have an annoying apprentice, and I doubt you can pay me as much as she does.”

The boy blinked for a few moments. Then his shoulders sagged. “Oh…”

I hesitated, seeing the expression on his face. But I decided to continue anyways. “Also, trust me, you don’t want to be like me. If I could choose, I’d rather live in a small town like you.”

“That’s—” The boy opened his mouth, and I leapt into the air, leaving the town behind.

I didn’t look back once, even as I soared through the sky. I continued until I found a nearby city and stopped by.

 

—--

 

Sometimes, doing good things sucked. That was why I hated being a hero. There was very little reward that came from helping others. At least, in the sense of truly altruistic actions. I had spent an indiscernible amount of time in the Fractured Realm just to save Vacuos from the Voidgod’s wrath.

I suffered in that broken world for a long time. It was wearisome. I couldn’t rest. Every waking moment of my time there, I had to push myself to the brink of death. And I did it all for one reason alone— a chance to return to normalcy.

But after everything I had done, I wasn’t given anything. Nothing I had accomplished mattered to me. Sure, I was now strong enough to never have to worry about being threatened ever again, but I didn’t care about that. After all, I could never see my parents or friends back home on Earth ever again, and that was all I cared about.

I had fought for nothing.

So doing good things usually sucked. But sometimes it was very rewarding. Just like right now.

“The total comes up to one-thousand-and-five-hundred gold coins,” the [Receptionist] said as she cleared his throat.

My eyes grew wide. I wasn’t in the Adventurer’s Guild right now. I had already spoken to the local [Lord] and the Adventurer’s Guild, both of which gave me a slip of paper to hand over to the Merchant’s Guild.

And after tallying up the total, the [Receptionist] had said a number that surpassed all my expectations.

“That is… a lot of fucking money,” I whistled.

“The Adventurer’s Guild is still verifying the corpses you provided, and I believe the [Lord] is still contacting the [Mayor] of Stanlowe. Once they have fully confirmed that you have indeed slain the Frenzied Five in battle, you can collect the reward.” The [Receptionist] produced an invoice and nodded at me. “It will most likely take up to five days’ time.”

“Five days?” I blinked. “What am I supposed to do for five days?”

The [Receptionist] cleared her throat. “There are plenty of things to do at Sudbury—”

 

—-

 

This city was called Sudbury, and there wasn’t much to do. The [Receptionist] at the Merchant’s Guild suggested going shopping because this city had some of the finest [Tailors] and [Crafters] in the entire Astrad Kingdom, but it was all too expensive for me.

I wandered up and down a gaudy street with rich lampposts lit up by enchanted crystals and lined with ornate shops. They always displayed overpriced items— whether it was clothes, shoes, armor, or simple accessories like hair clips and such. I even saw a decorated dress going for sale for fifty gold coins.

Fifty gold coins.

Sure, I could afford to spend a little, but that was just ridiculous. I quickly decided against shopping here in Sudbury. It was a big city— three times bigger than Windrip in terms of population and size— and there were going to be a lot of unnecessary excessively expensive locations.

Instead, I decided to take a look at the jobs I could try out. I saw an advertisement looking for a [Lumberjack] apprentice and decided to see what it was like. But even after getting there and lying about my Class, things didn’t turn out so well.

“Stop! What are you doing?!” the [Lumberjack] exclaimed.

I hefted the axe over my shoulder and eyed the piece of log I had chopped in half. I frowned. “Is this a trick question?”

“You’re cutting it all wrong! Look at this!” He compared the two log halves side by side as he spoke in a dismayed tone. “They’re not even at all! Are you even a Level 10 [Woodcutter]? Don’t you have an [Even Slice] Skill? What is wrong with you?”

I gave him a flat stare. “Are you serious?”

“I’m not here to train some [Lumberjack’s Apprentice]! I’m hiring, not looking to take on some students!”

“I can do it with a sword if you’d like.” I gestured at the blade at my side. I knew I could do it with pinpoint precision if I used my sword. But…

The [Lumberjack] tore his hair out. “You— get out!”

So that turned out to be a dud. I tried checking out one of the larger smitheries too to see if I could learn how to smith, since the [Blacksmith] was holding weekly lessons for young adults who’d just started anew as a [Smith’s Apprentice]. But even though I paid that day’s entry fee, he told me never to return ever again when we were finished.

He reprimanded me for getting everything wrong even though I basically did everything right. But since I didn’t have the right Skills, he still found something to nitpick over, which was frankly annoying.

So after deciding against dealing with any more of that nonsense, I spent the rest of my time in Sudbury checking out the local cuisine. At the cheaper street-level, it wasn’t too different from what I would find at Windrip. But when I visited fancier restaurants at more expensive locations, I found that it was even more of a waste of money.

“The fuck is this?” I stared down at the thin slice of fish laid before me.

It was no larger in size than one of my fingers, and it certainly wasn’t enough for a main course meal. It was dipped in some white cream with translucent orange flakes laid around it in a circle. I finished it in two bites, realizing that I had spent seventy-five silver on practically an appetizer.

Also, it tasted like shit.

At this point, I might as well just give away my money rather than spending it on this useless garbage. And that was what ended up happening.

I was on my way back from The Regal Stallions— the fancy restaurant I had been at, which had a terrible name since I thought they served horsemeat at first— and came across a little girl begging by the side street. It was night. I was pretty sure this was a part of some robbery scheme. But I tossed her a gold coin anyways.

Her eyes grew wide as she saw the glinting coin land in her outstretched palm. She stared at me with wide eyes, but I simply continued past her.

“M-Miss!” she called out, and I glanced back once.

“What’s up?”

“You shouldn’t…” the girl started, before trailing off. She hesitated and glanced down at the round object in the palm of her hand. She glanced about warily as she pursed her lips. FInally, she dashed up to my side and held out the gold coin. “Take it back!”

I frowned. “Why should I do that?”

“Just…” She bit her lower lip. “Just do it! And use it to take a carriage out of Sudbury!”

I stared at her. She gave me an insistent look as her eyes darted back further into the alleyway. I tapped a finger on my chin. I hadn’t realized that Sudbury was this kind of a city. But it made sense. Big cities often had these kinds of problems.

I took a step forward and smiled, gesturing at the sword hanging from my side. “I can handle myself, alright? Just keep the coin and run along.”

“Wait—” The girl opened her mouth, but I entered the side street despite her protests.

She stood there, blinking as she peered into the darkness. But I knew she couldn’t see anything. And all that resounded were a few quick thuds before I exited the alleyway, sheathing my sword.

“I’ll be going now,” I said, nodding at the beggar girl.

She clearly understood what just happened. She stared at me for a moment with round eyes before sputtering out. “Are… are you a [Hero]?”

That made me hold still for a second. I eyed her curiously. “Do you think I’m a [Hero]?” I asked in return.

“You are!” she exclaimed. “You must be!”

“I see.” I didn’t say anything in response.

I just left her there as I went back to my inn. Doing good things sucked. After helping a beggar, all I got was an answer that really grated on me. All I wanted was to live a normal life now.

But no matter how hard I tried, I really couldn’t. Whether it was the world’s fault or my fault, I didn’t know. And when I went to sleep that night, I dreamt of Earth.

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A note from MelasDelta

Brand new cover, brand new art. I absolute love it! She looks so cool! Art by Kaimo. This was... kinda expensive lmao. 


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MelasDelta

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