Stretching his arms over his head, Julius looked out at his store, finally finished sorting everything. He didn’t really need to do anything like that, but after the ‘party’ at Castle Lucene the previous night, he needed something to distract himself. It was a good thing that day just so happened one of the days his shop was closed. Such a fun coincidence…He really needed to get some help running the place.
However, before Julius could go back upstairs to take a nap, he heard a loud crash sound out. And with his nerves not fully calm, he quickly rushed to the back to see what amateur thief was breaking into his home.
“WHO THE FUCK IS BACK HERE!?”
And he was immediately greeted by the sight of three crying children along with a stack of his supplies he’d put in the alleyway. From what he could see, they’d tried to climb up to his window and then broke it…for some reason.
“W-What? What the hel-heck are you doing?”
“P-Please don’t kill us!” yelled the black-haired boy as he scrambled away, immediately hiding behind his taller, blue-haired friend. Who immediately moved protectively in front of him, even as scared tears fell down her pale, freckled cheeks.
Hm. Both of them were on the scruffy side with tan and brown clothes, while their brown-haired accomplice nearby, who shrunk back the instant Julius looked at him, had a far nicer, yellow doublet on.
“…I’m not going to kill you kids,” Julius finally replied, looking back at the two scruffy kids. “I just want to know why you decided to break my window.”
“S-Sergio said we could find something cool,” stuttered the blue-haired one, which got a frightened whimper from the brown haired one.
“…And I’m guessing that’s Sergio.” Julius frowned at the brown-haired kid, who, by this point, was biting his lip hard to keep it from wobbling. Richer kid getting two poorer kids to do his dirty work? “Did you put these two up to this?”
He tried to sound stern instead of angry there, but the kid, ‘Sergio’, shrunk back even more, visibly shaking by this point- “H-He didn’t!”
Julius blinked and looked over at the black-haired kid. He was still hiding behind his friend, but there was a firmness in his eyes as he stared back at Julius. “I-it’s my fault! S-Sue and Sergio just wanted to help me see a hero’s sword…”
“W-What? No it wasn’t!” the girl, Sue, yelled back at her friend, a very worried look crossing her face before she visibly tried to steel herself and stare back at Julius. “I-I…I w-was th…th-the one-”
“I-I b-broke the window,” Sergio suddenly said. He was still shaking, his hands clenched at his sides as he tried to stay calm. “I-It was all m-”
“It wasn’t! I-I stacked the boxes!” Sue interrupted, actually stepping protectively in front of him too while using a hand to keep her friend behind her. “S-So-”
Julius held up a hand. He looked over all three of them. All frightened kids, barely up to his chest. But still standing up for each other. Hm.
Two boys and a girl instead of two girls and a boy, but…
“…I’m not mad about the window.” He considered that for a second. “Well, no, I am mad about the window. But we’ll get to that in a moment. For now, I’m gonna make tea. You can come in if you want, but I’ll still bring you some cups if you wanna stay out here.”
They all looked ridiculously confused, their fear fading in seconds at his non-sequitur there, but that didn’t stop him from heading right back inside.
And a few minutes later, once the tea was ready, he came back out, set one of the boxes down on the ground, and put four mugs on top of it, all while the kids stared at him. Wary, but very confused.
Soon enough though, they sat down with him, and he waited until they felt ready to talk.
And it definitely took awhile, but eventually the kids began to talk to him. About how Adrien looked up to him and other heroes, how Sergio showed the other two where to find him, and how Sue, surprisingly, managed to lift and stack the boxes despite her age. When all was said and done, Julius sent them on their way, giving them all a pat on the head and a soft warning to never do that again.
With that another minor chapter in his life came to a close.
Until they came by the next day.
And the next.
Eventually, it became a regular occurrence for Julius to see at least one of the three daily. He even had them help out around the shop as they grew older. Everything seemed to have worked itself out, a steady normalcy setting in and only being broken twice.
The first was when they first arrived with a new friend, a dark-skinned girl who looked like a bundle of nervousness.
“Hey, old man! Say hi to Sophia!” shouted an older Adrien–15 by that point–a bright smile on his face as he introduced his new friend.
“Hi to Sophia,” Julius replied blandly, smirking a little as Adrien’s face immediately fell into an annoyed frown.
“You know why. So hey kid, how’re you doing?”
“H-Hello, my name S-Sophia Rama.”
Hm. Right. They decided to bring an outworlder who still wasn’t sure on the language to him. Humming to himself for a moment, Julius tried to talk to her in the few languages he knew to try to help. It took a few tries, but eventually he managed to find one from the more common ones.
“Are you okay?”
“H-Huh? You can speak Hindi?”
“A bit. How are you?”
With their own private conversation, Julius could see her relax a little bit at the small familiarity. And even though he wouldn’t be able to teach the future healer much, she soon joined the small group of friends who would often come by the store. Then the everyday life began again, with him gaining a few new employees and the kids coming by as they progressed with their own lives, until one day, not even a year ago, reports of the beginnings of an invasion started coming in from Naloriva, near the border by the Dark Lands.
It all happened when the group of four rushed into his home. Weirdly enough, Sergio stayed by the door. He seemed to be glancing out at seemingly nothing.
“Hey! So! Are you busy?” asked an uncharacteristically nervous Adrien.
“…No? What’s up?”
“Right. So. I need you to repair something?” As he said that, Adrien began to pull something off his back.
“Hm? Is that all? Is it that importan-” And before he could finish the sentence, Julius felt a pit in his stomach as he realized that before him no longer stood Adrien Dro, son of a tanner, but Adrien Dro, the new chosen hero, as he held up the sword Ignia, in need of a new handle.
Still, Julius gritted his teeth and congratulated Adrien, even as he readied himself for what he knew would be his inevitable death as their mentor…