“Master! Be honest with me!”
“Zed… If you ask me if a girl is beauty or not, I will know, because I have seen a really beautiful one before,” said Sieghart as he thought about Astraea’s face.
Zedediah just listened to his Master’s word carefully. But then suddenly…
Sieghart smacked the Zed’s head, then said, “But how the hell should I know which human male is handsome and which is not?! I’m a fricking male Dragon!!”
“Uuuuuu…but Master doesn’t have to hit me, right…?” cried Zedediah as he rubbed his head.
“Then stop talking nonsense when I am eating!”
“But Master!! It is something really important for me! A girl just ran away from me when she saw my face….”
“And? Ask her why then! Don’t disturb my meal!”
“H-how can I just talk to her? A-and Master is now really heartless after eating so much snacks. W-we shouldn’t have come here…”
Sieghart didn’t care about his disciple’s romance problem. “What are you saying?! We should have come here earlier!! After this, we will go to another city to find something else to eat!” said Sieghart as he excitedly chewed the snacks on his hand.
“I want to go back to the forest already…”
They sat there for a while then went into a bar for a dinner. After finished eating, a man suddenly slammed the door open and shouted out loud, “Wonderful news!! The Holy Sword Church has finally summoned the Hero!! He is inside the Grand Church right now!!”
The people inside were really excited…
“We have hopes to fight the Demon Emperor now!”
“Let’s pray that he will defeat the Demons!”
“L-let’s go see him!”
Hearing them, Sieghart’s face just turned sour. “Feh, they are happy because someone else do the fight for them while they just sit doing nothing. But, really, what a coincidence…, to actually summon him today…”
“Hmm? Master, what are you talking about?” Zedediah only knew about Hero from the books, he never really saw or knew the real story behind it. And he too was slightly surprised to see that he came to the city right on the day the Hero was summoned.
Sieghart fell silent. He just gazed at his disciple with strange look then said, “Come Zed! We are leaving…” Sieghart stood up then walked out of the dinner.
Zedediah just followed behind him with a confused face. He thought that they would go to see the Hero, but then, Sieghart walked outside the city, so Zedediah just followed him quietly. They walked for hours until they reached a small abandoned wreckage of a shrine inside a forest. They walked inside, and then Sieghart sat down on the floor and told Zed to sat in front of him.
“So, Zed. The time has come…,” said Sieghart.
“Eh? Really? Master means ‘that’ time? I never realized, when?” Zed was excited. He thought that, finally his long years of waiting was going to come to an end.
Sieghart smacked Zed’s head. “Shut up brat! I am going to tell you something important, so be silent for a while!”
“Auuu… B-but Mas-”
Second hit was thrown onto Zed’s head. Finally, he fell silent while rubbing his head.
“So, you will be going on a journey from now on. You can do whatever you want. Your train is finished. But…,” Sieghart was silent for a bit before saying, “you have to wait here for a while… later someone will come to pick you up.”
“Eeeeh? Am I a pet or somehing?” Zedediah didn’t understand, why should he wait for someone?
Third hit fell down. “Just listen to your Master!”
They fell silent for a while.
“So, you wait here! I will go now… Take care of yourself, okay?” said Sieghart as he began to stand up.
“M-master?! Y-you won’t come with me??” Zedediah was surprised, he thought that his Master would go with him to fight the Demons.
“I never say I will, do I?”
“B-but?” Zedediah was together with this man for 10 years already, even though his Master always bullied him, he loved him like an uncle or even a father. Drop of tears slowly fell down from his eyes.
“Meh! A man doesn’t cry! Come on! You are 20 years old already!” said Sieghart as he smiled and ruffled his disciple’s hair.
Zedediah fell silent as he felt his Master’s hand ruffling his hair. “Master Sieghart… T-thank you for everything you have done… I promise you, I will defeat the Demon Emperor!” said Zedediah to his Master.
“Just make sure you don’t have any regret…,” said Sieghart as he turned his back to Zedediah. But then, he turned again and said to him, “Right, I forgot! Zed! You may NOT use Mana Techniques in front of other human.”
Zedediah tilted his head then asked, “Why Master?”
“It’s a Technique of Magical Beasts. People will be suspicious of you if you show it to them. Maybe you will even get kidnapped and interrogated by the Church, who knows?”
“R-really?” Zedediah felt scared. He imagined himself being kidnapped by the Church then tortured by a skimpy clothed Sister holding a whip and a candle.
“Human fears what they don’t know. Even though there is Strengthening Techniques that normal warriors and knights use, ours is special and slightly different, because it needs massive amount of mana that normally only strong Magical Beasts have. So don’t show it off easily.” Sieghart only wanted to scare Zedediah, because, if he used the Mana Techniques to fight the Demons, it would become too easy.
“S-so I can only use my magic?”
“Yes. And even though chantless magic is rare, it’s existence is already a common sense. So you won’t be considered as strange by the people.”
“O-okay Master… I will be careful…” Zedediah just nodded as he believed everything that his Master said.
“Oh right! Consider this my last gift for you… At the city, you asked me if you are ugly or not right? Here, with this you won’t have to be worried anymore!” said Sieghart as he put out a silver mask from his Storage Belt and gave it to Zedediah.
“Ooooh… what kind of Magic Tool is this, Master? Will it make me look more handsome?” said Zedediah as he excitedly looked at the full-face silver mask in his hand carefully.
“Huh? No. It just hides your face, so you don’t even need to be worried about it.”
“Eh…that’s a bit…”
“Well then! I am going now! There’s a lot of food I haven’t tried yet!” said Sieghart as he ran out of the old shrine and gone in the blink of an eye.
“M-master?! Really…? Ah! You haven’t told me how long I should wait here… And who I should wait for…” He forgot to ask the most important things. But, it was already too late.
Zedediah wanted to run after his Master, but he didn’t want to miss out the people who will pick him up, so he just sat there and waited…
Then, days passed…
Zedediah’s belly already started to feel hungry after a few days of waiting. “Guh… Really?…Is someone even going to come here?” grumbled Zedediah as he rubbed his belly.
As Zedediah wanted to stand up and find some food, a woman’s sound was heard from outside, “H-hero-sama, is someone really here?” He was surprised because the woman’s sound was really sweet and cute, so he hurriedly put on the silver mask his Master gave him. He was nervous, he didn’t want to scare the girl.
But then, a boy’s voice was heard, “Lucy-san, I already told you to just call me Tooru right? And Holy Sword Goddess-sama already told me last night that we can find a helper at this place, so I just followed it.”
“B-but Tooru-san is a Hero, so I can’t just…”
“I told you just Tooru is fine…”
“T-then you have to call me Lucy as well…”
Zedediah was annoyed as he heard the boy and girl flirting with each other, he even unconciously ignored the important things like ‘Hero’ and ‘Holy Sword Goddess’.
Suddenly, the boy shouted from outside, “Is anyone in thereeee~~?”
“No ooone-ups…” Zedediah spontaneously answered as he was always being asked by his Master for 10 years about various things.
“Do you see T-t-tooru… there is no on-eh? W-who is there?!” shouted the girly voice.
“”…”” the two people outside was speechless, they didn’t know anymore if the man inside the ruin was playing with them or what…
Then the boy shouted, “My name is Tooru, Tooru Suzuki, the Holy Sword Hero. I was told by the Goddess that I can find a companion to fight the Demon Emperor here. Are you the one?”
Zedediah was really surprised, outside of the shrine was a Hero. That Hero even asked him, if he was the man said by the Goddess to fight the Demon Emperor together with him. Well, Zedediah really did want to go fight the Demon Emperor, but he was confused as how the Hero or the Goddess could know about that. After thinking for a bit then Zedediah concluded that maybe it was really possible for the Goddess to know, she is a Goddess after all. But still, Zedediah prefer to fight the Demon Emperor alone than together with a Hero that flirted with a girl. So he just kept silent for a bit then said, “….meooow?”
“Ahahahaha…fine…If you won’t come out, then we will come in…,” shouted the boy to the man inside the shrine as he walked into the entrance.
“T-tooru?” The girl was nervous, it’s her first time to go adventuring outside, and she already had to face a strange man that keep mewing at her, but still she followed him from behind.
Seeing the two of them kept walking closer to him, Zed finally said, “Agh… Fine, I give up… Just wait there… I will come out…”
The Hero and the girl stopped walking then waited as they were told. A hint of smile was put on the Hero’s face, whereas the girls still looked nervous to hear the man’s voice from inside the shrine.
Zedediah checked himself. Hair? Looking good. Robe? Looking fine. Mask? Already straight. Okay, let’s go out and gave them a friendly impression…
But the impression, that he gave to the two human outside, was just the opposite. It was already dusk and the sky already started to darken. From the dark Shrine’s entrance came out slowly a tall statured ‘human’ wearing a brown robe, with short unkempt brown hair, and a hideous full-face silver mask. Actually from the appearance alone, Zedediah looked pretty normal except for the mask, but it was then combined together with a strange aura that came from killing so many Magical beasts. So right now, a serial killer image was shown to the people that saw him.
But the Hero was not a normal person, he was a really kind person and never judged another from their appearance alone. He just smiled at Zedediah then said, “Hello, nice looking mask there. Will you tell me who you are?”
Zedediah looked carefully at the pair in front of him. The Hero was a young looking man around 15-16 years old with height a bit shorter than Zedediah, his hair was short and black colored, his face could be considered handsome with a pair of burning eyes on it. He wore a white-silver full armor with a white robe on top of it and over his waist hung a golden majestic sword. On his side was a girl with a long blonde hair and a really beautiful face. She wore a white priest gown with a white robe over her body and held a white long staff on her right hand. She looked at Zedediah with a fully opened eyes and a wide smile.
Zedediah was amused as she saw the girl smiled at her, he thought that maybe he wasn’t as ugly as he thought he was, or maybe the mask looked good on him. Well, actually the girl beside the Hero already fainted with opened eyes when she saw Zedediah came out. Her body just turned frigid and her hand had clenched the staff so tight, that she managed to keep standing.
Seeing the man in front of him stared at his friend, Tooru suddenly said, “This girl is a friend of mine that will help me fight the Demon Emperor. She is the future Holy Pope of the Holy Sword Goddess Church, Lucy Benedict.”
Zedediah just nodded then said, “I am Zed, a magician.” He didn’t want to tell them that he was a prince from the fallen Knightley Empire, so he just introduced himself as simple as possible.
Tooru just nodded. “So, are you the one the Goddess told me about?”
Zedediah frowned a bit then said, “Hmmm, I do want to beat Demon Emperor. But, I don’t know if I am the one the Goddess told you about or not.”
“Is there anyone else that lives here besides you?” asked Tooru.
“I believe not,” said Zedediah as he shook his head. He already had frequently checked the surrounding 5 km for any kind of mana source, but he found no one for the last few days.
“Then you must be the one the Goddess told me about.”
“Well, logically speaking, yes…”
“Haha… then let’s go!”
“Eh? I have no say in this?”
“Hmm? You don’t want to go with us? You want to defeat the Demon Emperor right?”
“Well, I do. But won’t I just disturb you and Lucy-san?” Zedediah wanted to act like a gentleman, but honestly he was just jealous.
Tooru just tilted his head then said, “Hmmm? Why would you?”
“Eh? Aren’t you guys in relationship?”
“Ah? No..No…we are just friend…hahaha” said Tooru as he laughed. Thankfully Lucy still fainted and didn’t hear this.
Zedediah felt slightly happy then said, “Oh ok, I will come with you then.” He thought that it was a nice chance to get closer to a girl. Maybe he could save her a few times in a fight then she would be head over heels for him. Naive thinking…
Tooru just nodded then shouted again, “Let’s go then!…. Hmm Lucy?” But Lucy was motionlessly standing and not moving at all.
“Hmm? What happened to her?” asked Zedediah.
“I don’t know, maybe she is tired?” said Tooru as he poked Lucy’s cheek. After she was poked, she suddenly lost her balance and fell down. Tooru spontaneously catched her in a princess carry style.
Suddenly, she woke up because of the falling shock. “E-eh? What happened to me?” said Lucy as he woke up in Tooru’s embrace.
“Sorry… You fell down because you followed me the entire time, even though you are actually really tired…” said Tooru as he put his face closer to see her condition.
Lucy finally realized that she was currently being carried in Tooru’s arm. “Ah…um…no, it was my duty to help the Hero…so I am okay…p-please put me down already,” she said to him softly with a flustered cheek. Tooru put Lucy down in the grass and looked really concerned at her. Her face was red and her gaze was averted from Tooru’s eyes.
As Zedediah saw this pink colored scene, he realized that he had made the biggest mistake in his life. He was familiar with this kind of man, yes, this Hero was just like his father. This man in front of him…was a natural lady killer…
“Eh… Hero… I suddenly do not feel well, so can I reject your previous offer?” asked Zedediah. He really didn’t want to fight for a woman against someone like Tooru. He knew he would definitely lose.
“Oh…really? Well, I can’t force people to fight for me, so it’s okay…,” said Tooru. Then he gazed at the pale faced Lucy. “Lucy too can go back to the city, you know? It’s dangerous for a girl to fight the Demons…”
“N-no… I am ready to die for the people!!” shouted Lucy as she shook her head.
“But… it would pain my heart to see you die… I don’t think I am already strong enough to defeat the Demon Emperor while protecting you at the same time…”
Zedediah’s heart unwillingly felt guilty as he saw the scene in front of him. He thought that this Hero really could make people’s heart waver…
“Ugh…fine… I will help you…,” said Zedediah to Tooru, “but keep the flirting to minimum…” Zedediah gave up already to win the heart of this woman, he now just wanted to help this Hero to beat the Demon Emperor.
“N-no, I am not f-f-f-flirting,” said Lucy with red cheek, then she looked at me with a scared face and asked, “A-and who are you?”
“”Eh?”” Tooru and Zed tilted their head together.
And that was the first meeting of Zed, Tooru and Lucy…
At a town far away from there, a golden haired young man was eating a skewered meat from both of his hand as he walked slowly through the street. Beside him walked a blue haired little girl eating an apple candy.
“So, Sieghart… Zedediah already met with the Hero, what’s your plan now?” said the little girl to the golden haired man.
“Don’t know… maybe roam around finding something new to eat?”
“Hmmm… to Demon Continent I think…”
“You want to help Zedediah?”
“No, I want to see what the Demons cook…”
“Since when did you become such a glutton…”
“Blame your boyfriend, he was the one who taught me about delicious food…”
“No, it’s not that I was angry… It was just… no, forget it…”
“Hmm okay… but Astraea… is the current Hero strong enough to beat the Demon Emperor?”
“Do you think he will fail with Zedediah’s help?”
“Hmmm, I don’t think so…”
“Me neither. This time you really have made a monster…”
“Well, I gave him the Techniques, and you gave him the Mana…”
“I told him not to use it though…”
“No problem… it would be better for him…”
“I think so too… if it were too easy, then his revenge won’t be satisfied before he squashed every single Demon…”
Astraea just nodded…
“Is that tasty?” asked Astraea as he saw the skewered meat on Sieghart’s hand.
“Want to try? Here…”