It was, a story from long ago.
It was a time where no one knew anything about Heroes and Demon Kings, and many people believed both today and tomorrow, the world would be blessed with peace.
Sincere, pure, and innocent──It was a story of when a pure white young girl was at the height of happiness.
「……Ria, Ria! Oーi!」
A young girl called Ria raised her head looking surprised as she sat down on a cloth spread out on the grass, and saw the young boy that was looking down at her.
The young girl had roundish blue eyes. Her hair was long, beautiful, and made into braids behind her.
Wearing a light colored dress, Ria was a young girl that the word “sweet” really suited.
She was famed as being the sweetest one among the young girls of the same age even in her village, and along with her cheerful personality that laughed often, Ria was loved by everyone in her village.
「You, could it be, you were sleeping, weren’t you……」
「I, I wasn’t sleeping! I was watching properly!」
Ria said that and flappingly waved her hands.
The place that the two of them were at was an open field that spread out near the village.
This open field didn’t have a name, but going along with that, the village that the two of them lived in didn’t have a name either.
It seemed to have the long-winded, temporary name of St. Altlis Kingdom Eastern Pioneer Village 1058, but the children other than Ria weren’t able to properly remember that. It was because they could just get by with just “the Village”.
As for why it still only had a temporary name, the newly appointed feudal lord was the cause.
Normally, pioneer villages that were newly opened up and had well-regulated lifestyle foundations would make an application to the feudal lord to become official villages.
Once recognized as a village by the feudal lord, they would become subjects to protection, and at the same time, the duty of paying taxes to the feudal lord would also come forth.
However, the newly appointed feudal lord was corrupt, and it seems that the village was told to hand over a high amount of money if it wanted to be officially recognized as a village.
Due to that, only the tax collector was properly handed over……that is what Ria had heard the adults of the village grumbling about.
On the night that she heard that story, Ria saw a dream where an amazing hero appeared at where the evil feudal lord that she had never seen was laughing with a *guhaha* and killed him with a sword.
When she spoke about that dream in the village, for some reason, the men had suddenly started practicing the sword.
They had the ulterior motive of trying to show off their good side to Ria, but there was no way that the Ria in question would understand that.
Since the men would start to talk to her and ask for her impression if she were to carelessly look at the scene of them doing sword practice, Ria felt like she had said things like 「That’s so cool」 and 「That’s amazing」 several times for the past two months.
Right now, the brown-haired young boy that was looking down at Ria──Teg, was a young boy that was practicing the sword before the sword technique boom had happened in the village, and was someone that fell into the category of being Ria’s childhood friend.
Practicing in this open field was a daily routine, and his dream of someday becoming a knight in the royal capital was something Ria had heard tens of thousands of times.
Being told that he would improve better by being seen by others, she accompanied him in his training like this every day.
Since I brought a bento on his first day of practice, I guess he thought of me being on bento duty……that wasn’t something she hadn’t thought of, but she didn’t hate watching Teg earnestly doing his practice.
The reason why she was spacing out today was due to the air being warm and the wind feeling good, and was by no means because she was bored. Probably.
「No, it’s fine if that’s the case. How was it, my sword, did I improve?」
「Eh? Y, yup. It was amazing!」
Since she couldn’t say “I wasn’t watching in the middle”, Ria said that and produced a smile.
However, Teg, who should have just been praised, made a bitter face.
He held Ria’s head with both hands, put strength into them, and squished her face.
「I’m sure that it really was amazing. I did place my bokken on my head, and danced right in front of you after all!」
「Ow-ow-ow-ow! Eh, what did you say! Ow-ow-ow, that hurts! Hey Teg, wait, show that to me one more time……Stopー, I said that hurts!」
After Ria kicked Teg’s legs away, Teg went “uoh”, letting out a pathetic sounding voice, and flopped onto Ria.
Teg knocked Ria down just like that, and raised a groan.
Crushed by Teg’s body, Ria suffered at the weight of it, and flapped her arms and legs about.
「Uuー……Teg, you’re heavy……You’re gonna flatten me.」
「That……hurt……wait, uwah, s, sorry!?」
Teg got away from her with his face being bright red.
Ria made a curious-looking face at that reaction, and immediately following that, suspiciously looked at Teg.
「Saying, you’re sorry. Could it be, Teg, you pushing me down just now, was on purpose……?」
「Y, you’re wrong! The reason why I apologized was because I got on top of you……!」
「That’s because I kicked you and made you lose balance, isn’t it. So we’re even, right? For you to apologize despite that……Isn’t that proof you were thinking of something bad.」
「You’re wrong, wrong! I, as a man, and as someone who aims to be a knight, you see! Although it wasn’t on purpose, to get on top of a girl is just!」
Seeing Teg desperately justify himself, Ria let out a “pfft”.
Naturally, she understood that Teg didn’t do it on purpose.
Knowing that Teg had that all too serious part to him, she teased him.
And then, when Teg understood that he was being teased, his red face went even redder.
「Y, you! I seriously felt bad about that, you know!」
「S, sorry, sorry. I mean, Teg, you’re so funny after all.」
「Calling me funny, you……」
After Teg said that with a complicated-looking expression, he changed the topic looking like he just remembered something.
「Come to think of it, did you see the guy staying at the old geezer’s house?」
「Jeez, it isn’t old geezer, but Village Chief. And by the person staying there, you mean him, right, the swordsman-sama that came to the village yesterday……」
In the village chief’s house, a traveller that came in last night was staying there right now.
He was a silver haired man that wore plain but beautiful armor, and carried an expensive looking sword.
The women of the village were stirred by his beauty, and the men of the village let out voices of admiration at the 「genuine swordsman」 atmosphere that he had.
「I also only got a look at his back from a distance but. That was, a genuine swordsman……Plus, I can see him as a knight commander. He ain’t some average guy.」
「Saying stuff like that again……Teg, you say that, but you picked a fight with Mul-san the woodcutter not too long ago, didn’t you.」
「Th, that was because old man Mul did such misleading things!」
「Saying stuff like “even if you say that I’m wrong, I can tell that you’ve done a lot of sword trainingー”……」
Ria nimbly stood up and evaded Teg who tried to cover up Ria’s mouth with a red face on.
Getting a few steps away just like that, she started to reproduce Teg’s lines from that time along with gestures.
「That’s right, I have something like an intuition that only those that can use swords would understand! At that time, I clearly felt it……」
「St, stop it! I’m begging you, Ria, please forget that!」
Evading Teg whose face had become redder than ever before and tried to stop her, Ria started to run away while laughing sounding like she was having fun.
Not long after the two of them had started chasing one another──
Ria bumped into a blunt, silver wall that had suddenly appeared in front of her.
Getting repelled back just like that and losing her balance, Ria ended up unexpectedly falling back.
「Ah, wah, ooh!?」
A hand that stretched out from that silver wall firmly supported Ria’s body.
With her chest pounding as she thought that she was going to fall, Ria looked at the silver wall that saved her.
No, what she thought was a wall was silver armor that covered the chest.
After looking up, she saw that the one that saved her was a man with short silver hair and blue eyes.
As if matching with his beautiful features, his body was also well-trained and sturdy.
He wore firmly sewn and robust-looking clothes, and a real sword hung at his waist.
Ria stared at that beautiful man’s face.
「Are you alright?」
「Eh? Y, yes. Thank you very much.」
After Ria flusteredly replied, the man, while laughing, had Ria’s body, which he was holding up, stand up with skillful movements.
「Keep your tomboyishness in moderation.」
The man said that, tousled and patted Ria’s head, and was about to turn around.
「I, I’m Ria! I am, call Ria!」
Suddenly getting a self-introduction from Ria, the man stopped moving.
「Whoops, I see. I am Al. Unfortunately, I’m not a knight commander though……Just a travelling swordsman.」
Teg, who was unable to keep up with the situation and was repeatedly opening and closing his mouth, heard the man’s words and his face turned red.
Seeing that, Al mischievously shrugged his shoulders.
Although Teg was excited by the fact that a genuine swordsman had suddenly appeared before him, he took a deep breath and calmed himself down.
Al looked quite younger than Teg thought……but that being said, he was probably three or four years older than Teg who had just become fourteen.
Teg resolutely called out to Al.
「Um……Al……-san! I am Teg!」
「Ou, so you’re Teg. I’m Al, nice to meet you.」
Al showed a lighthearted smile to Teg who was looking at him with a gaze of aspiration.
And then, Al moved his gaze to the bokken in Teg’s hand.
「Hey, Teg. This village is a normal pioneer village, right?」
「No, it’s nothing that big but. I can kind of see scenes of bokkens being wielded here and there. There was even a bokken in the village chief’s house. I was asked about a sword secret art or something by the son there……」
「D, did you teach him one!?」
Seeing Teg press him for an answer, Al lightly raised up both hands and stepped back.
「Oi, oi, don’t get so excited. I’m not a guy that can speak of secret arts and so forth.」
「Is, is that so……」
「So, what is with this village?」
Making a sidelong glance at Teg who was visibly dejected, Al asked the question to Ria.
「Nnー, it’s a normal village. As for the sword, it’s something like a recent craze.」
「Hーn? Ah, but speaking about normal villages. I heard that this place was still a pioneer village. Is that true?」
「Yes, it is St. Altlis Kingdom Eastern Pioneer Village 1058.」
「That’s also pretty strange. With it being this properly developed, wouldn’t it be alright to apply for a village name?」
Certainly, it was just as Al had said, but it turned into a situation where the village name application wasn’t approved, and only the tax collector came.
Having only taxes be collected despite not being recognized as a village would originally be strange, but with the feudal lord, who they should normally be appealing to for help, being their opponent, there was nothing that they could do.
After receiving that explanation, Al made a difficult-looking face.
「Hーn, that’s pretty corrupt. Incidentally, what was the name that was applied for?」
「Erm……Village Chief-san said it was……Gioleru Village.」
Seeing Al’s reaction of raising his voice sounding somehow impressed, Teg and Ria both exchanged glances.
「Al-san. Was there something incredible about that name just now?」
「Village Chief-san said that it didn’t have any particular meaning though.」
Hearing the words of those two, Al chuckled.
「That’s, well, he was probably embarrassed and passed it off.」
Seeing that the two didn’t understand the meaning of it and start to worry, Al said “don’t tell anyone about this……” as a preface and then whispered.
「You see, Giolerus is a coined word that appeared in a verse of an olーd heroic tale. If I remember correctly, it had the meaning of……a shining future.」