Interlude 2 – Meet the Hero

Julius always considered himself to be rather simple. He took things as they came and didn’t question them. Well, aside from now anyways. 

“So remind me how a mage got chosen by a sword,” said the young blond fighter as he scratched his head. 

“Well, it’s like it chose him for his spirit, I guess?” answered Ellen. The silver-haired archer was checking on her arrows as they waited for their mentor and new companion. 

“Okay, but like, why a mage? Wouldn’t a sword choose someone who knows how to use it?” 

“Eh…godly magic or something?” suggested Ellen as she leaned back against the tree they were waiting by. Some water was still dripping from the leaves above them, due to the recent rain.

“Hmph. Well at least we’re bound to have interesting lives now. Heh, Graves is gonna be jealous she didn’t stick around.” 

“Well, I’m sure she’s having fun doing whatever it is she’s doing. I’m just glad it’s almost time for her to dock in Orin again. Proper goodbyes and all that.” 

“I still think we should wait for her first before we try heading to Mesa. That asshat of an Archduke won’t give us shit.” 

“Well I’m sure he will. I mean we do have the hero with us. What’s the worst that could happen?” 

“Hey brats!” And then came the loud voice of their mentor. “Meet your new friend!” 

Looking over, Julius and Ellen found their boisterous mentor, Blake Zweher, walking toward them, his boots squelching through the mud on the path. Just like when he left a few weeks ago, the man had his black hair in a braid, though his brown cloak looked somewhat more worn out, as were the clothes underneath. A long, faded scar stretched diagonally across his face, from his temple to his chin. Of course, the lower half of the scar wasn’t as apparent due to the well kept beard he had. 

Being dragged behind him, however, was a new face. The young man, who looked like he was their age, had dark skin and dull red hair kept in a long ponytail. Since he was wearing rather large robes, they couldn’t make out his physical figure, but they could see the staff he kept in one hand, and the sheathed sword clutched to his body. 

“Huh…he’s cute,” Julius whispered to Ellen. 

“Eh…he’s decent enough,” she whispered back as the two stood up. 

“Sorry we’re late! This kid wandered off when I wasn’t looking. Found him searching for herbs for some old lady.” 

“She said she had a secret recipe with them, I wanted to see if I could learn it.” 

“Hey, no need to come up with excuses! You felt like doing it, so you did it, simple as that!” 

“…Is that why you went to a tavern rather than helping me?” 

“Yup! Ahaha!” 

“…Yeah, sorry about him. He’s like this a lot,” interjected Julius, extending a hand out. “Nice to meet you, name’s Julius.” 

“…Douglas Yew, apparent hero.” Reaching out, Douglas shook his hand. 

“Pleasure to meet you, Douglas, I’m Ellen.” As she introduced herself, Douglas jumped. 

“Gah! W-Where did you come from!?” 

“…I’ve been here from the start.” 

“Ahaha, guess you’re still having trouble with that, huh, Ellie?” Rubbing her head, Blake glanced at Douglas. “The little lady here tends to get looked over. Sometimes it’s good, other times it isn’t.” 

“…I don’t think that’s a good explanation.” 

“It’s good enough for now! So, as you both know, Doug here is the newfound hero and, more importantly, is going to be the caster in our little party! That means we’re leaving most magic stuff up to him since I have no idea how any of that works beyond being able to set my weapons on fire!”

“Is that a good idea?”

“Sure it is! Doug, show them what you can do.”

Douglas shrugged. “Yeah, alright.” 

He raised up his staff and a bright orange ball formed at the tip of it, glowing and giving off heat. Julius stared curiously as flames grew from the ball while it increased in size, burning brighter and brighter as Douglas held it in the air.

“Alright, please stand back-” And then Douglas took a step back as he moved his staff. Later on, Julius would learn that Douglas had intended to aim it at a nearby tree, further away from them, but as he stepped back, Douglas’s foot went deep into a particularly slick patch of mud.

He fell, the staff pointed the wrong way, and then Julius was on fire.

Suffice to say, he quickly revised his opinion of the so-called hero after that mess.

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