Amber left the hero’s party and returned home as a disappointment. To her father, leaving the hero’s party is an irredeemable act of dishonor for the Zauberei family. She is now a failure in his eyes, and he would stop talking to her altogether. He would only talk about Nia everywhere he goes, trying to forget about his eldest daughter. Amber spent the next few months as a shut-in inside her mansion, constantly reliving her mistakes. She had become way less talkative and refused to interact with any outsiders. Failure was already hard for a normal person, it’s even harder for gifted individuals with high expectations.
One day, to her surprise, her dad requests for a meeting with her.
“Ever since you left the hero’s party, the Zauberai’s reputation has taken quite a hit. It’s appalling for me to look at absolute failure like you.”- Her father said with a heavy sigh.
“Luckily Lorcan, the leader of Elqium, seems to have his interests in you. At the very least, you still have Zauberei blood running in your veins, that’s the highly valuable thing he is looking for. You should feel grateful that you can still be of use to me. It’s an order, join Elqium as one of their members, that way you can hope to not disgrace me any further.”- Her father sternly and coldly demands.
“Yes father...”- Amber can’t do anything other than comply with the order.
Joining Elqium and moving to Abania seems to be her best chance to redeem herself by starting fresh, or so Amber thought. She suffered constant bullying and harassment from her fellow guild mates. Her accuracy on spells plummeted, she can no longer hit any spell, making her deadweight in guild raids to the Darkened Abyss.
“You’re lucky that you were born into a royal family.”
“How is someone like you even in this guild? Of course, you have to be the boss’s toy for him to keep you here this long.”
“Is this really the Amber Zauberei of legend? A kid can fight better than her! What a joke.”
At this point, instead of the praise she has always received, the only thing she hears everyday now are insults. Eventually at one point, she learned and chooses to tune out others. Staying at Elqium for the past 2 months had made her numb to these insults. She would always stay silent despite the insults, something quite uncharacteristic for her, until the day ends.
Everyday passes without importance, Amber has given up trying to fight at this point. She would just sit in the camp and wait until the raid was complete. It’s just another pattern of staying one week in the abyss and then heading back up to the surface for a few more weeks. There is no joy for her.
“Let’s go, we’re packing up.”- People could be heard in the background running, packing things up as the guild is ready to head back up to the surface.
As per usual, two girls returning from the raiding party would walk next to Amber, taking out their frustrations on her. She would keep quiet as always, ignoring all the insults sent her way. The beautiful red night sky can be seen as the guild returns from their raid. Loud cheering sounds can be heard all around the city by the citizens, celebrating another successful raid. The guild members walked to the Adventurer Guild building to celebrate there. All the colorful fireworks all seem dull and gray to Amber. All the cheering and talking all sound like white noise to her as she enters the building. Of course, the two girls still followed her, sitting next to her and continuing their routine harassment.
“Hey, say something, why are you so creepy and quiet all the time?”- One of the girls said.
“Give her a break. Almost killing the hero apparently isn’t satisfying enough for her.”- The other girl followed.
“She just wants to act like a tragic heroine. ‘ Oh , save me, my prince ’.”- The first girl said.
“AHAHAHAH”- as they both laugh at her.
“That over there is the renowned Amber Zauberei. Our guild’s stress doll. You can insult her all you want and she won’t even fight back.”- One of the guys can be heard in the back, explaining to someone while pointing at Amber.
“That’s pretty horrible”- a familiar voice replies.
“No, it's not horrible. That bitch almost killed the hero, you know, she is completely useless to this guild. She is only here because the boss likes her or something.”- the guy explains.
“I’m so bored.”- Says one of the girls.
“That hair of yours, glowing bright red. Kinda pisses me off, it’s an eyesore.”- She says.
“Let’s give you a quick haircut. I heard bald is a new popular style in town right now.”- She laughs while pulling out a small knife.
“The boss will kill you!”- The second girl says.
“Oh, don’t worry. He only visits once in a few months, I’m sure her hair will grow back by then.”- The first girl reassures.
The girl then grabs and pulls Amber’s hair up, hurting her. But Amber doesn't resist, standing there in silence. The girls laugh and say:
“See, she didn’t object to getting a haircut!”
As the blade slowly descents into her hair. “Pchh,” a grabbing sound can be heard.
“I like you ladies but come on, bullying a cute girl like this is not acceptable”- Sophia says while grabbing the girl holding the blade’s arm.
“Mind your own business.”- the second bully said.
“Who the hell are you?”- The first girl inquired.
“A perverted lesbian elf.”- Natalie says as she throws a chair at the girl holding a knife.
“DO YOU REALIZE WHAT YOU JUST DID? HOW DARE YOU ATTACK AN ELQIUM MEMBER?!?”- The first girl screams in anger.
The whole guild now has their attention towards the stranger causing the ruckus. A girl in a maid costume, a very tall elf girl, a disappointed looking guy face palming, and a handsome dude laughing. The angry bully throws the chair back over at Natalie, but she dodges. The chair flew past her and hit the handsome guy.
“OH NO! My disguise is going to wear off!!!”- Claudius says in a panic.
The spell wears off, revealing his true form of a void creature. It can be easily understood that being a void creature in a city that borders the Abyss is already quite bad. But being a void creature in front of a guild that constantly fights them in raids would be ultra bad. That’s what the situation is for Claudius at the very moment.
“RUN!!!”- Leo screams as Claudius blasts a hole through the guild wall.
Everyone in the guild has their weapons drawn and ready to fight. Leo quickly grabs Amber as his party tries to escape. Leo pulled Amber to the outside, running for a short distance. Suddenly, she stopped running, to Leo’s surprise. Amber didn’t really care about the situation she is in as she has completely given up, even if it meant going back to that abusive guild.
“What’s wrong? You’re giving up already?”- Leo turns around, letting his party run ahead.
“That’s not the Amber I know!”- He continues.
Amber is still frozen in place, as the guild members can be seen pouring out from the guild building.
“I DON’T CARE IF YOU CAN’T HIT ANY SPELL. I DON’T CARE IF YOU ARE A LAZY BUM. HERE IN OUR PARTY, WE DON’T HAVE GRAND GOALS OF CONQUERING THE WORLD OR KILLING THE DEMON LORD. OUR SPECIALTY IS RUNNING”- He shouts with all his might.
Amber looks up at Leo, still emotionless. But it seems like his words have seemed to start breaking through her hardened shell.
“WE ARE HERE TO HAVE A FUN ADVENTURE!!! YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT, YOU HEAR ME??!!”
For the first time in months ever since Amber left the hero’s party, words from someone else echoes in her mind. She thought of the reason why she joined the hero’s party instead of staying as a Royal Mage. She wanted companionship. She wanted recognition. She simply wants to make her parents proud. But all of that doesn't matter to her now. She is her own person and has to make her own choice. She can’t let others decide her future, like her father assigning her to be a Royal Mage, or the king requesting her to join the Hero’s party, or even her giving up her romance for her sister, or following orders to to join Elqium. For the first time in her life, Amber firms her resolve and chooses to make a decision.
Emotions seemed to have returned to her, Amber is now aware of her surroundings once more. Time slows down as she turns around to look at the angry Elqium members , she then turns back to face Leo.
“YOU FLAT CHESTED, LOUD MOUTHED TSUNDERE!!!!!!!”- Leo shouts.
“SHUT UP YOU VIRGIN LOSER!”- Amber shouts back, tears flowing down her eyes.
She started smiling as she ran, slowly catching up to his party. The five of them run away from a whole city chasing them, dodging attacks thrown at them (Mostly aimed for Claudius). After running for a while, they soon made it far outside the city, managing to somehow shake off their pursuers. The five collapses, breathing hard from exhaustion.
“How can you guys... run so fast... for so long?”- Amber says while trying to catch her breath.
“Experience.”- All four replied in unison.
They all spontaneously started laughing over their situation, with Amber laughing the most she had ever laughed. Silence follows once they finish laughing, all hugging their stomach. Leo looks back at his party as they all give a nod, signaling him to go for it. With some hesitation, Leo walks up to Amber and asked:
“Well, my party here is quite low in number and…”
“Can I join your party? I would be very happy if you guys accept me.”- Amber asks, interrupting Leo.
That question caught Leo completely off guard and stuns him in place as he was expecting a tsundere statement in the past like “You pathetic peasants better be happy to have me allow you guys to invite me.”
Standing still for a few seconds, Leo smiles and says:
“Of course, it would be our pleasure to have you.”
“Let me guess, she is also a mage.”- Sophia says without hesitation.
“Yep!”- Leo and Natalie both replied.
And so, 2 years and 6 months since Leo started adventuring, the party he wanted has finally completed. Natalie Encia, a strange class C mage who always wears a maid outfit to battle. Sophia Olohorn, a perverted elf who got trapped into joining the party (Class D). Claudius, a weird unknown void creature who has a very talkative personality, also a class D mage. Leo, the main character of our story, a class B mage. Finally Amber, a flat chested maybe ex-tsundere who is also a B class mage (used to be S). Ingrid, the mysterious guild advisor who loves not being there most of the time. Together they form a B class adventuring party, predictably named “Mage Party”. Their adventure has just now started, with much more fun to be had.
End of Arc 1.