Chapter 2: Prologue, part 2
Riley was sick and tired of everything. Because of all the stupid events surrounding the triumphant return of the Hero and the resulting parade, it’s been one thing or another, and they’ve been parading around the town for half a day already. It’s hot, tiresome, and exhausting.
The wizard boy named Keito sitting diagonally across from Riley suddenly twisted his body. As for why, it seems that a piece of candy flew into the carriage from the direction of the mass of townspeople. The candy fell on the floor of the carriage with a “plunk!” sound.
The overly excited populace had started tossing various items such as food, flowers, and even dolls modeled after them at the carriage……
Keito was just like Riley, fed up with everything, and was slouching against the side of the carriage.
Riley was looking into the distance at Weizland Castle. Since they were making one full circle around the castle town, it seemed that it would still take quite a bit of time.
“Now, now. Keito and Riley, don’t be so down, and try to enjoy yourselves, okay? After all, such a chance is limited only to today.”
The boy with ash blonde hair sitting next to Riley was Ash, the person tirelessly waving at the crowds earlier, and when he showed off his sword to them he had been bathed in cheers. As the swordsman who undertook a special mission directly from the king to defeat the Demon King, everyone called him the “Hero.” In truth, he was a person that had been summoned here and guided by the goddess herself, a “chosen one.”
The other members all voluntarily gathered themselves around Ash.
The cleric, Erin, was saved by Ash during the time when the Demon King’s subordinates were attacking a church, and she’s requested to travel with him since then. As for the famous martial artist Igor, it seems that he was impressed with Ash’s abilities when he lost to him during a certain martial arts tournament. Since then, he’s been persistently following Ash around. In the end, he even followed him all the way to the final battle against the Demon King. And as for the wizard Keito, he used to be the Demon King’s subordinate, a member of the demonic cult, but he betrayed them and aligned himself with Ash. In order for the demonic cult to not harm humans anymore, it’s been completely dismantled.
The members had all been gathered as a matter of course, but now they all trust and rely on each other. And as for Ash and Erin, they’ve become lovers as well as fellow party members. Riley had secretly pined for Ash herself as well but, he had been four years older than Riley, and he never even viewed Riley as a member of the opposite gender.
“……I don’t particularly care anyways.”
It’s more than enough for Riley that Ash took her out of that place. She doesn’t wish for anything more. That’s what Riley’s decided. Riley’s talent had been recognized and scouted by Ash as well, so she also accompanied them to the final battle against the Demon King. Before that, she had been staying in a military facility. It was a facility that picked up orphans and mass-produced them as soldiers to be used against the Demon King.
Since the fires of revenge burned strong within these children whose friends and family had all been killed by subordinates of the Demon King, they willingly trained themselves in battle and became excellent weapons that danced across the battlefield. Riley had also been one of those children. Riley had already been in the facility since she was a baby, and had no memories of her parents. However, her abilities far surpassed that of the other children. Her talents as a magic swordsman were blossoming and caught the eye of Ash, and he approached her to ask her to travel together with him to fight against the Demon King.
When they entered Weizland Castle, it was already dusk and night was approaching. Riley and Keito both set foot in the castle as if they were missing half of their souls. Ash was still quite energetic.
To the Hero and his party that visited the castle, the king generously promised to “grant whatever wishes each of you may have.”
The Hero Ash got married with Erin, and became the king’s personal knight. The cleric Erin asked for support for the church that she was from. The martial artist Igor received lots of gold and a noble title, and he decided to stay with Ash and work by his side. He also married a noble daughter as well. The wizard Keito requested a pardon for all his crimes as a member of the demonic cult, and stayed in the royal palace to work as the court magician.
“Alright, Riley. What would you like? Money, or a noble title? A high-ranked job?”
“…………I don’t want anything. Suffice it to say, I just want to be free.”
Riley received a small house in the forest near the castle, and even though she was only the young age of thirteen, she began living a quiet life of seclusion free from worldly cares. Of course, the Weizland Kingdom was taking care of her living expenses. In exchange, Riley and the other members as well were all placed under the surveillance of the Weizland Kingdom. The heroes of the past may be a threat in the future. It could be said that the worth of a hero was only this much in the end.