Prologue – Retiring from being an adventurer
I was an orphan, one of the many children who was left behind at a church, with no knowledge of the names or faces of my parents; just another orphan in poverty that could be found on any corner.
Because the church operated on a small budget from people’s donations, it was difficult to feed all the orphans who were left behind there.
Even though I worked and worked every day, I did not ever get a decent meal. A day with hard bread and plain soup was considered a luxury. At bad times, there would be nothing to eat for days.
I hated to live like that every day, so I decided to make some money putting my life at stake.
At first, I was using a stone-shaved wooden rod, that couldn’t even be called a sword, against the monsters outside of the city.
It doesn’t take much for things like monsters to kill a child, but I thought it was better than working at the church in poverty. You can obtain raw materials and meat if you kill the monsters, and turn their materials into money by selling them, their meat into food by cooking them. I thought that was the way I was going to survive.
If you register at the adventurer’s guild, you will receive quests to kill different types of monsters. The moment I found out that I could be earning even more, I registered in the guild on that very same day.
Imitating and stealing the techniques of skilled adventurers, sometimes by asking them to teach me, I started subjugating monsters one by one starting from goblins and worked my way up.
Others who knew of me and were doing the same things as I was, started to team up with me, and we hunted monsters together with our lives at stake.
Monsters with high capabilities could be dealt with more efficiently if they were hunted by people in a party.
At times there were causalities, but it couldn’t be helped. In this harsh world, it was natural for those who lacked strength and luck to perish.
I hunted monsters over and over again as I became an adult, and finally became an A-ranked adventurer as they called it in this kingdom.
Strength is everything when it comes to survival.
If you have strength, you can make money, you can eat good things, and sleep in soft futons.
I polished my skills in the pursuit of strength, and carried out quests with my companions. At this age of 27 years old, I defeated a dragon, a monster of the strongest species, thus gaining enormous wealth and fame.
Then, I suddenly realized.
I don’t starve anymore. I am plenty strong and wealthy; I no longer have trouble living a life.
There’s no need to hunt monsters anymore.
There’s no need to fight battles with my life on the line.
When all those thoughts came to mind, I lost all my energy, as I lost sight of my goal in life.
Although I find it pointless for me to hunt monsters now, they still fill this world with danger.
I was asked to subdue atrocious monsters many times, but I couldn’t fight while in such a state of mind, so I declined the quests.
I’m already 27 years old. That’s already past the age of my body’s physical peak; my abilities and reactions are starting to go downwards. I couldn’t continue this merciless adventurer lifestyle without a goal in life as my emotional support.
It’s just about time I retire from being an adventurer.
If so, how should I live my life from this point on?
Stay in the kingdom’s capital like this and build a luxurious home and live carefree? No, that’s not right.
Become an instructor in the adventurer’s guild and nurture the younger generations? Although I have abilities and techniques to some extent, it would be strange for a man who no longer wants to fight monsters to teach others how to engage in mortal combat. I would feel sorry for the people getting taught.
Peerage, knights, royalty escorts of frontier regions with a lot of monsters…? There were many other choices out there, but they were all occupations that involve fighting.
Since I was not tight on money, recently there were some strange people coming up to me trying to tag along. Because of that, I was getting sick of living in the capital.
Man, I already want to distance myself from life and death battles and leisurely live a normal life somewhere.
At that moment, a scene of a place suitable for that came up in my mind.
A small village with flowers of vivid colors spreading and changing according to the season.
Farms and fields, beautiful rivers, all surrounded by big mountains.
Blessed by nature, their food was very delicious. Their population was low, it was a quiet place where everyone was self sufficient and lived in peace.
Certainly, that place was called Nordende. That’s right, it was before I met my companions, I went there after taking up a quest, it was a village in another country.
I had only been to that village once, but maybe it’s because of the beautiful multi-colored field of flowers there that it was deeply engraved in my memories.
Back at that time, I finished the quest quickly and was looking at the flowers all day long.
….It might not be bad to settle down at Nordende.
I might not be able to get married there because I’m way past the prime marriageable age, but living in a small house, plowing the fields and hunting, such a calm life-style might not be too bad. Moreover, I could see the plains of beautiful flowers every day.
It was also spring on my last visit there. The radiant colors of flowers in pink, red, orange, yellow and white will be in full bloom.
My heart starts pounding as I thought of how I could see that scene once again. I was not able to get motivated ever since the dragon subjugation, but now I feel alive again.
I want to go there right now.
So with that thought, I called up the members of the party “Black Silver” and gathered at an inn.
Lately I was getting all kinds of different looks in the guild, so I couldn’t relax at all.
「Today we will disband our party」
「…I see 」
「Well, I thought it was going to come to this」
Elliot answered wearing a very solemn expression on his face, and Kiel muttered with his arms crossed behind his head.
These two, who’re looking at me as if they were possessed by something, should have seen this coming as well.
Well, this kind of thing happens regardless of me being the cause of it or not. Humans can’t be fighting forever.
And the members other than me are also at a considerable age already. Because we have been questing together all this time, they were all over the age of 20. Now that we have money, there’s no need to continue the dangerous career of being an adventurer. There are many other options for people at our levels.
「Are we really disbanding?! 」
Kurune[i] got up vigorously and yelled.
「Well, the leader says he wants to quit. You are still 22 years old. But for us guys, we are approaching our 30s. Isn’t it about time we quit the merciless occupation called an adventurer? Elliot even has a lover. Even if the leader didn’t say to disband, wasn’t he going to quit anyways?
「That’s right. I don’t want to make her worry so much 」
Hearing the words from Kiel, Elliot answered while glancing over.
I had been expecting that as well.
「B, But.. 」
Kurune looked down with strong lingering affections.
It’s sad for companions who acted together for many years to depart from each other. You could say that’s how I feel as well.
「Whaat, if we’re not dead, we can always meet again at any time! 」
With those cheerful words, Kiel blew away the depressing mood.
「That’s right. I will be serving in the king’s order of knights, so you’ll be always welcomed if you ever come to the kingdom’s capital」
With that, Elliot’s expression also changed to a soft one.
Kiel has always been like that. He was always the one making up the mood in the party, making us feel at ease and sometimes even pushing us forward.
「Hmm? Elliot will still be working? Aren’t you already swimming in money? 」
「I feel restless if I don’t work a lot. My girlfriend’s father is also the leader of the knights so I can’t afford to refuse… 」
We are all surprised to see Elliot muttering while showing a bitter smile.
「I knew you had a lover, but I did not think she was going to be a noble.. 」
Speaking of the leader of the knights, he is a militant type of nobleman. So that means Elliot is being adopted by his wife’s family. Then, there was no way for him to refuse.
「Everyone has their own path to follow huh… 」
Kurune wipes the tears dropping from her eyes as she muttered.
She seemed to have come to an understanding.
「How nice~ Elliot is a noble huh~」
Kiel rocks back on his chair as it makes squeaky noises.
「What about you, Kiel? 」
「Oh, me? I will travel across the countries with the big lump of cash we got from subjugating the dragon. Eating delicious food freely here and there, and while holding a woman, I’ll be spending money like a king」
Was he happy that Elliot asked? Kiel showed a friendly smile as he responded.
What Kiel just said were very natural human-like behaviors. Even so, I have not even considered doing those things; I guess it’s just not what I’m into.
「But still, you haven’t changed at all」
「I still look like myself, Don’t I? 」
Everyone laughed at Kiel’s remarks like how it’s always been.
「Whatever you do doesn’t matter, Kurune」
When Kurune tried to say something, Kiel interrupted.
「Why is that?! Tell me! 」
Kiel made Kurune angry by teasing her. It’s how the conversations usually go, and it puts a smile on my face.
「I will become a teacher in the magic academy because I was invited」
「Hehh, a teacher, huh… 」
Kiel said it with an expression which also represented how we all felt.
「Eh? I’m becoming a teacher in “That” famous magic academy you know? It’s okay to show a little reaction like how you just were with Elliot 」
「No, even if you tell me that, I have no idea about the magic academy that nobles go to」
Kiel replied as if it’s whatever, while Kurune showed an expression like she couldn’t believe what just happened, and looked at me and Elliot.
「Sorry, I am a beginner in this stuff」
「I, too, know nothing but the sword」
I also think that I don’t even have to be asked. It’s impossible for an orphan who took up the sword and became an adventurer to know about some magic academy that nobles go to.
「So what about you, leader? What are you going to do? 」
Kurune, who just finished sighing, changed her direction to me and asked.
Kiel and Elliot also focused their gaze this way as if they are also wondering.
「Me? I will live in Nordende」