Chapter 54:

Rejoicing and Reunion

The Consequence of Saving the World

With my arm healed, not only did the pain go away, but so did a concern that was biting at the back of my mind.

I didn’t need to worry about my facade as a Dragon-ranked adventurer as much. Honestly, if I was a pilgrim, and I saw that a Dragon-rank got hurt by simple bandits, then a lot of doubt would naturally be cast.

Thankfully, the only people who knew where the kidnapped people were indebted to me and that mistaken mage. It was unlikely that anyone would listen to Rolf and the bandits, since the proof was gone.

I removed my splint and unwrapped the bandages on my arm. To think that there was a bulge popping out of my forearm just moments ago was unreal. The only sign that I was wounded earlier was the blood caked on these white wraps. It wasn’t a cut, so there wasn’t that much blood, but the red blots were still noticeable.

As I was taking out the bandages, Ain seemed a bit sad. Poor girl must’ve felt disappointed that her artwork was going to be thrown away.

I took the section that she painted and separated it from the rest of the bandages. Next, I tied that part around my wrist. I inspected and admired my new “bracelet”, which instantly resulted in the little girl’s eyes lighting up.

“What do you think?”

Ain nodded her head excitedly as I asked that. On the other hand, Sereya was looking away, acting as if she didn’t see any of this. I half-expected her to insult it like she did before, but it was great that she had the tact not to mention it in front of the artist.

With the edge of the forest in view, a relaxed sigh exited my body. It was a relief to know that this whole operation turned out fine in the end.

“It’s Anita! Anita’s back!”

The pilgrims idling by at camp responded to the first person they saw. Their voices of surprise turned into cheers when it wasn’t just Anita, it was also their friends and family members who emerged out of the woods.

There were tears. There was jubilation. Finally, after so much uncertainty, they were finally able to reunite with their loved ones. They could finally move on and head to where they were supposed to.

“Oh Lord Evan! Thank you!”

I flinched a little as I heard words of worship like that from the crowd. Given how devout these people were, it was hard to imagine them coming to terms that their god was fake. Well, I hope they could come to terms with that in the future, because I definitely wouldn’t.

When it was our turn to pass the edge of the forest and into the camp, all three of our faces had the same expression. Seeing parents hugging their children and husbands hugging their wives filled our hearts with warmth.

Even though I wasn’t cut out to be one, I could understand why Sereya kept soldiering on as a Hero. To be able to bring about this joy in people was a privilege reserved for a few. This kind of happiness should be the only pandemic that deserves to infect everyone everywhere.

“Thank you! Thank you so much! May Lord Evan bless you for the rest of your lives!”

Sorry, man. Even if I was a god, could gods even bless themselves? Wouldn’t that be like swallowing your own saliva or something?

That one pilgrim who thanked Sereya and me was setting off a chain reaction. More and more pilgrims started to crowd our cart as the number of thanks and worship escalated.

We quickly got off the cart before it was drowned in this ant-like pool of fervent Evanists.

“Thank you sir! My family owes you!”

“You’re welcome to stay at my house in Breven for as long as you like!”

“Are you single? You saved my daughter’s life, you’re free to take her hand for the rest of yours!”


Good grief. This was getting way out of hand. It was hard to even squeeze through from all these people. Some were grabbing me, trying to hold my hand and pulling my clothes. I hoped Sereya wasn’t going through the same treatment at her end.

“ENOUGH! All of you are troubling our heroes!”

It was Bernard who came to my rescue. His voice thundered through the camp, splitting the mob swarming me into two. Finally, I could breathe again.

Bernard approached me with a stoic look on his face. It was hard to read the big guy’s thoughts.

Standing right in front of me, he remained dead silent as he looked me in the eye. I was starting to wonder if I had to say something.

All of a sudden, I couldn’t breathe! My lungs were failing me as his ripped arms wrapped around me like an anaconda.


He repeated that phrase over and over again as my head started to get lighter and lighter. My shoulder was getting wet and salty from the fountain that was spouting forth from his eyes. Damn it, this guy had no chill!

Hey Sereya, little help, please?

I turned to look at my partner who stood comfortably at a distance, observing my whole ordeal. When she noticed that I was looking at her, she had the audacity to stick her tongue out at me!

I think I finally know how stuffed toys feel when their owner snuggles them too hard. I squeaked out whatever air left in my system to save my hide:

“Bernard, you can let go now.”

“Sorry, sorry.”

The sweet nectar of the evening breeze finally found its way to my core. He wiped his teary eyes as I caught a breather.

“Sir, you saved my sister,” Bernard stated as he placed his hand on the shoulder of the woman who just stepped forward. It was the same pilgrim who helped to splint my arm!

“You’ve done a great deed for all of us,” she continued, “While we probably couldn’t offer much to adventurers of your standing, if you ever need any help, do drop by Breven Temple. We’ll support you to the best of our abilities.”

That actually was a very good deal! This would definitely help in locating mum and Eveline!

“I’ll definitely pay a visit.”

“Excellent. With that out of the way,” Bernard’s smile quickly flipped to the opposite, “What do we do with them?”

As he turned to face the line of chained bandits, the rest of the pilgrims followed suit. All eyes were on the ones who caused this hardship in the first place.

“Especially you, Talbot! We were in the same party together for so long, how could you do this!?”

One of the adventurers rebuked the treacherous archer who could only look down in shame.

“We should skin them ali—”


“My bad, my bad! I’m an Evanist now.”

Bernard’s sister scolded her short-tempered sibling as he reminded himself of his new faith. She turned to face me and asked:

“You should decide their fate.”

Thankfully, I already did.

“Take them with you and hand them over to the guards. Whatever bounty that was on their heads will be for the temple to keep. The same with all the loot. Sell them and donate it to the temple.”

Surprised gasps and looks of astonishment were strewn across the crowd.

“But these spoils are rightfully yours!” protested Bernard.

“Perhaps, but I need to return to Breven immediately. Bringing with me these criminals and loot would only slow me down.”

Bernard relented, “I understand. I wished we could travel together, but it’ll be rude of us to demand anything of you any further. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for all you’ve done.”

Almost as if it was rehearsed, all the pilgrims started to bow towards me. Frankly, it was overwhelming. Geez, I know it was a big deal, but stop trying to make it bigger, people!

“Well, my companions and I shall be taking our leave. It was a pleasure working with all of you.”

I gave an approving nod to Sereya, Anita and Ain who were already standing next to our cart. Zephyr even gave a loud neigh, ecstatic that she would ride on her once more.

“Before you go, could you please tell us your name? I know you said we shouldn’t know, but at least let us remember you in some way.”

Bernard pleaded earnestly. I could tell from his eyes that he really wanted to return the gratitude one day.

“Very well. Let it be known that I am Uncle.”

I waited to see everyone’s reaction, but none of them were laughing, which was strange.

“That is all.”

As I got up on the cart alongside my companions, I gave one last look at the pilgrims who continued to wave at us until the horizon shielded us from their sight.

“Wow, I see that you’re wearing your name with pride now,” Sereya commented as she winked at me.

“Well, it’s not like I’d have the chance to wear my other one any time soon, right?”

“What?! Uncle, you have another name? Why didn’t you tell me?!”

With rescued souls and repaired bonds, we set off to Breven with bigger hearts than ever.