Chapter Two – Success! Celebration! …and FLEEING!
Our success against the Demon Lord spread around the kingdom…and there was much rejoicing.
The hero and everyone in the party were dragged to celebrations over successive nights and days.
Of course, there was an award ceremony from the king as well.
Those one step down from the hero, in other words, everyone in the party BUT the hero – got loads of royal names and medals.
The hero became our Excellency, the Grand Baron.
The warriors, the healer, and I all became viscounts. Viscounts that received a yearly pension, but with no royal lands.
However, the royalty and titled nobility all treated us viscounts importantly. That alone made everything we went through seem like a great success.
Even more than becoming viscounts was the fact that the royals were paying us for our work…it was pleasing.
All of the adventurer guilds immediately gave us an S Rank.
It was a rank that the guild hadn’t used in 200 years and was just given for our party.
Normally, the ranks just go from F to A.
The S Rank is the highest award given by the guild.
And with pain coursing through my knee… I tried to smile through countless ceremonies and events.
I finally made my way home a week after my triumphant entry to the palace.
Three days later, the warrior Luka came to visit.
「Al, you still rolling around in bed?」
「Recovery is important.」
It had been three days since I got home and no way I was going to leave.
It was a long and difficult journey to face this Demon Lord. Then all these damn parties after we got back. I’m almost 40 years old…it was really rough.
Of course, I had the right to lie on my ass all I wanted…I mean, recover.
Luka just looked at me, exasperated.
「You know that Cruz and Yureena left this morning to fight some magic beasts, right?」
「I’m not a kid like you all are.」
「Hah hah, what the? Just like an old man to say that.」
「You just found out? I am old.」
The hero’s party was all youngsters. Everyone teenagers.
Cruz and Yureena were 15.
Luka was 17.
「Instead of worrying about me, why don’t you go do something?」
I said, and Yuka laughed back at me.
「Yesterday I started working at the Academy.」
That’s right. Even though Luka is a warrior, she’s also a superb student. Because of that, she must be going there for special instruction as well.
I remembered that she’s studying ancient writings and monster research.
At 17…she’s an excellent student.
「I see. Sorry for sounding like that.」
Luka then walked right up to my leg.
「Hmmm. So how is it?」
She touched my knee and peered at it.
「It hurts, but it’s not something I can’t take.」
「Liar. At all those parties I could see you were in pain.」
She is sharp. Just like an academic.
「I’m not lying. It’s just, those damn ceremonies, you have to kneel, stand, all that. I was really tired. Just sitting down was pretty painful.」
I said to her, but because of the bad weather today, it really hurt. It wasn’t too much to take, but I couldn’t exercise at all.
「Hmph. Well, don’t push yourself too hard, okay?!」
She stayed a little longer, left some medicine, and went home. She must have come just because she was worried about me.
She was a kind girl.
After she returned home, a new guest came. Some guy with an important office in the kingdom, a real noble. I think he was a military chief.
「Sir Lint. I have something to ask of you.」
He jumped right in after greeting me. Just like a busy military guy would.
Also, my last name happens to be Lint.
「…ah. Yes, what is it?」
I hadn’t been called Lint for quite a while, so I was lost for a second.
Only those in the middle class and above have the name Lint, but it’s a normal name. Not a lot of adventurers with the last name Lint.
My father was a knight, so it was strange for a guy like me with the name Lint to join some adventurers.
When they were giving us adventurers our new titles, they couldn’t think of my last name and someone had to remind them.
The military minister stared straight at me, seriously.
「Sir Lint, we would like you to lead a new group of magical knights.」
The Demon Lord was gone, but there were still evil monsters and demons about in the kingdom.
This new magical knight force would destroy all the remaining evil scattered about the kingdom, it seemed.
It was quite the honor. If my mom and dad heard this they would have cried with joy.
However, it was hard to think of going from battle to battle with this damn knee.
Also, making my mom and dad happy was pointless – they died long ago.
「Thanks so much for the offer, but…」
I thought for a bit, and refused.
The military minister looked disappointed and looked at me with a persistent stare.
「I’m sorry, but I will have to decline.」
「…I see. Sir Lint. Perhaps you could instruct the palace magicians, then?」
「If they see your preeminent skill, we know those foolish magicians will finally snap out of their foolishness!」
I thought about refusing. But, I can’t refuse when someone asks urgently saying things like 「Just for today」, or「Just try it once, okay?」
I did refuse to become the head of the magical knights, so this new offer isn’t as bad compared to the first one.
That’s what the military minister was trying to say.
「Thank you very much!」
I put up with the pain in my knee and trained the palace magicians for about three hours.
Then, as soon as I was on my way home,
The grand manager for all the guilds came up to me. He was the man that managed all the guilds, the Guild Grand Master.
I had no idea what he was doing here.
However, since the fellow was the top rank in the guilds as the Grand Master, he had to put in a lot of work. The adventurer guilds were separate from the kingdom as an organization.
「Such good fortune to see Sir Lint here while I visit the palace. I was just thinking of visiting your house, actually.」
The Grand Master said in a jolly tone.
「What is it?」
「Yes, well, soon, we were thinking of creating a new guild in the area where the late-Demon Lord resided, and we’d love for you to be chief of the guild, if that were the case.」
If he’s building a guild in the area of the now-dead Demon Lord, that means I’d have to crush magical beasts all day. It’s a huge responsibility…reclaiming the lands.
If there’s a shortage of labor, the guild leader himself would have to go to the front line to fight.
It would be a great promotion, but…
My damn knee hurts.
「I think the load would be a bit too much for me. Please choose someone with a bit more experience.」
The Grand Master giggled.
「Hah hah hah, you’re all too humble. Humility is virtue, but too much of it can seem like sarcasm.」
Nothing humble about it.
I had to refuse the man seriously once more and the Grand Master’s face now looked very disappointed. Then he said,
「Ah, yes! But it must be destiny that we’ve met here! I’ve heard that some undead have appeared near the palace!」
He had changed the subject completely, and I didn’t want to follow where he was leading me.
「I was thinking of making a party to destroy them, Sir Lint. Could you lead them?」
「Near here there are several very strong adventurers but…the area around the palace is so peaceful. If they see the magic you used for victory in that battle, they could learn much.」
The veterans teaching the new blood, yes, it’s our duty to do so.
But my knee still hurts…badly.
I thought I should refuse. The kingdom’s adventurers could take care of something like the undead.
But, just before I could completely refuse the Grand Master, I found it hard to do so, since all of the sudden,
「PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE HELP ME!」
The Grand Master bowed deeply, and I couldn’t refuse.
I rounded up and killed all the undead, and got back before the sun went down.
When I arrived home, I whispered this to myself.
My knee hurt way worse than in the morning. I had trained a dozen palace magicians, and then cleared some undead off a mountain path.
And the undead weren’t just ghouls, they were strong liches. And there were a lot more than the Master said.
I did all I could to keep those adventurers from running away. It wasn’t so much as vanquishing as almost getting vanquished.
If this keeps up, I and all the others with S Rank are going to be called into military service to lead the military.
「Dammit, this S Rank’s a trap…」
When this S rank crap was thought up by the guild and awarded to me, I remember someone telling me about the duty that came with it.
It came up and I didn’t really think about it.
And it wasn’t just the guild that was rattling this knee of mine.
Of course, all the other royals outside the military guy had problems they were going to push on me.
That’s why I’m suddenly a viscount.
When I received that rank, for the kingdom and the king, I remember I was told I had a duty to uphold.
「Damn, no way my knee’s going to hold up.」
There’s no way my knee is going to heal if I couldn’t lie around in bed, even though I thought that’s all I‘d do.
For a long time, I thought that a loooooooooong rest would be the exact thing I needed after all the work I did as an adventurer.
I get a yearly pension no matter what I do as a viscount. It’s almost like an eternal paid vacation from work.
From 15, when I became an adventurer, until around 40, I worked without resting, ceaselessly.
And now my frigging knee hurts.
「A way to rest, to rest…to get away, get away from all this.」
I spent a sleepless night pondering it.
The next day. I woke up early and got to the guild the same time it opened.
「Alfred! What is it?」
I gave a half-assed answer to the reception girl and looked for a quest on the wall.
There were three things I needed for a good quest.
- A fun sounding quest.
- The quest had to be in a place not easily accessible from the palace.
- It had to be a long quest.
I thought all night about it, a way to get away.
If I were to just screw around here, they’d come at me with that 「duty as a S rank adventurer」crap. If that was going to happen, then I should go ahead and take a job at the guild first.
And I found it!
『Need a guard in Mulg Village. Wolves and boars attacking the village. Payment is food, clothing, and board. *Village has a hot spring.』
The hot spring was an obvious choice. It’s perfect for a recovering knee.
The reward was little, but there’s no problem with my yearly pension.
「THAT’S THE ONE!」
I took the quest request off the board and to the receptionist.
「Wait, you’re going to take THIS, Alfred?」
The new girl at the guild desk looked confused. Of course, she was.
An S Rank adventurer was taking an F Rank job.
「Yeah, please, HURRY!」
If it was any later, the head of the guild would start work and he would turn me down.
「Why is an S Rank taking on a job like this? After all you went through, there are so many better quests to choose from, give it up, buddy…」 I know that’s what he’d say.
Having to deal with that crap is the worst.
But the new girl filled the order without further question as she was the only one here now. That’s why I hurried to come here early in the morning.
Still confused, she handed the approved job back to me with a look of confusion.
I struggled as hard as I could to maintain composure, but my heart was leaping for joy.