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And 10 Years Had Pa.s.sed
How long had I been fighting? I was so desperate that I could hardly keep track.
It felt like it was several weeks, but also several months.
It also felt like over a year.
I picked up the Devil King's sword.
"My clothes are in tatters…and I have no money. Maybe I could sell this."
It had been a bitter fight. The clothes that I was wearing were torn.
It was unfortunate, as these had been expensive clothes with high magic and physical resistance.
But now that they were torn, I was practically naked.
I had even lost my Adventurer's Card. And my magic bag, which had contained my money had also burned away.
I had nothing.
Still, if I could get my Adventurer's Card reissued, then I would be able to withdraw from my savings.
There was nothing to worry about.
I was in high spirits as I moved away from the place between dimensions.
"…Where am I?"
Once I was out, there was nothing but a wide open field.
It was night time.
You could never be certain where you would appear when you stepped out of that place between dimensions.
You just had a vague, general idea.
It was supposed to take you somewhere close to the royal capital.
"Well, a little walking should take me to a town eventually."
I was nearly naked, with only a sword on my back as I started out.
There were a few monsters I had to kill on the way, then it was more walking.
But I was lucky and was able to arrive at a city just as the sun started to rise.
"This is…the royal capital?"
It seemed quite different in atmosphere from the royal capital I was familiar with, but there was no mistaking it.
I headed for the gate.
Two guards called for me to stop.
"W-wait a moment."
"Is something wrong?"
"What isn't wrong? What happened to you?"
They stared at me up and down. I suppose being nearly naked made them curious.
"I was in an intense battle…"
"I see. Highwaymen… There have been fewer incidents lately, but I suppose they still come out now and again."
"No, not highwaymen…I was in a terrible battle and lost my clothes in the process."
I said honestly, and the guard put a hand on my shoulder.
Both of them now had a much more comforting tone in their voices.
"Yes, yes. I know how it is."
"You're an Adventurer. It must have been horrible for you."
I denied that it was highwaymen, but they a.s.sumed I was just trying to save face as an Adventurer.
After all, it was the job of Adventurers to protect regular citizens from highwaymen.
It would be very bad for business to be an Adventurer who got mugged on the road.
And so the two guards perceptively asked no further.
"What, what is it?"
A few other guards gathered around.
The first guard who stopped me explained to the others.
"Hmm. You are lucky to just be alive."
"No amount of personal skill can match an enemy that outnumbers you. Such things happen."
"Do you have friends in the city?"
"Uh, yes. I do."
The Hero, Eric. and the Warrior, Goran should be living here.
"That is good. And do you have any identification?"
"I lost mine."
"Yes, yes. Of course, you did. They probably took it along with your wallet."
They said sympathetically.
"We'll have a temporary card issued for you. Just tell me your name."
"I am called Ruck."
"Ruck. A good name."
The temporary card was issued quickly.
But I rejected their offer to lend me money.
"But, you cannot go in dressed like that."
"You will be arrested for walking naked."
After talking about it with the guards, they brought me some cloth from the back.
It appeared to be old clothes.
“This is practically rags…but it is better than being naked.”
"I'm sorry that it is all we have."
"No, thank you very much."
"We were going to throw it away, so you do not have to return it."
I thanked the kind guards and entered the royal capital.
I felt a little discomfort. The city seemed too different from what I remembered.
Perhaps I had just fought so much that my perceptions had been altered.
I decided to visit Eric and Goran before going to the Adventurer's Guild.
It was more important to greet friends.
And so I asked a pa.s.serby.
"The Hero, Eric? Ah, it is…"
"The Warrior, Goran? It is…"
They were quite famous. And so I was easily able to learn where they lived.
Apparently, Goran's house was closer. And so I decided to visit Goran first.
But when I arrived, it was an incredible mansion.
"Do you need something?"
As I stood in shock at the sheer size of it, the gatekeeper of the mansion called to me.
"I want to meet Goran. Is he home?"
"Ahh… And do you have an appointment?"
"Not an appointment, but…"
"Then you will not meet him."
"Could you just tell him that Ruck's come to see him?"
However, the gatekeeper would not listen.
"No, he'll definitely want to see me if tell him my name."
"We have so many people who come saying just that…"
"But it's true."
"The answer is no."
Maybe it wasn't working because of my ragged clothes.
"I'll come right back!"
"Please do not come back ever again!"
I decided to try again later.
Right now, I was a suspicious looking man who wore rags and carried a great sword on his back.
As a gatekeeper, he could not let me in. And I could appreciate that he took his work seriously.
"I have to buy clothes and, no, get my Adventurer's Card reissued first."
On my way to the Adventurer's guild, I pa.s.sed through the central plaza of the city.
There was a magnificent stone statue erected in the center of it.
It must have been nearly ten times as tall as an adult. It was so big.
And the carving was so life-like. He seemed to be a sorcerer, equipped with a robe and large staff.
"Quite a handsome guy as well…"
A fresh-faced looker indeed. But, who could it be?
I decided to ask someone who stood nearby.
"Excuse me. Who is this statue supposed to be?"
"Huh? You do not know?"
"Yes. I'm very sorry."
The person gave me a suspicious look.
But after looking at me carefully, changed to an understanding expression.
"Ah, I see how it is."
Perhaps my ragged clothes made me look like a country b.u.mpkin.
Now he was smiling. He must have had some personal policy to be nice to outsiders.
"This is a statue of Ruck, the Hero."
I was shocked to hear my own name. No, it was not as if Ruck was a particularly unusual name.
It must be a coincidence.
"Yes, it was 10 years ago that the hero sacrificed himself between the dimensions in order to stop the great devil army."
"What did you say!!"
"The world was saved because of Ruck, and we are all grateful."
It was about me. But that didn't look like me at all.
He was too dashing. I was never that good looking.
"I, I doubt he was this handsome…"
"Hey, you. That is terribly rude. Ruck's fans will kill you if they heard you say that!"
Apparently, I had barbarous fans now. Horrifying.
I looked up at this statue that was far more handsome than the original and stood there in dumbfounded shock.
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