In this world, countries are governed by monarchies. Each with their own respective ruler—king or queen. Just as demons have their own ruler, the demon king, the Galdia Kingdom also has its own. Frederick Galdia, its current ruler and the 31st king in the country’s history.
I’ve read some information in books about the different kingdoms. Like how they’ve changed over the span of 300 years. But seeing a kingdom by yourself and learning more about it from someone who had actually lived there is really different from just reading about it in books.
Currently, Alyss-san and I are within the capital of the kingdom. She walked me through different places like the local shops and inns. Unlike 300 years ago, when magic was the sole factor of living, here, they now have developed technologies which are actually quite similar to the ones on earth.
Walking past by an accessory shop, I saw an item on display through the glass window. It said on the description that it can dry your hair faster and can be easily used just by pressing a button. That’s basically a hairdryer.
With magic existing, isn’t it more efficient just to use wind magic for something like that? That’s honestly what I thought for a moment but then realized that not everyone can use magic. That must be the reason and purpose for items like this being invented.
We stopped at a pretty wide and open area. Unlike earlier where there were full of buildings, this time the area was sprinkled with greenery and nature.
“By the way, this central park is called “The Great Sanctuary of Hero”.”
What’s up with that name? And hero?
“See that statue over the center?”
In the center of the park, surrounded by a pool of water, standing as tall as a house was a statue.
“That’s the hero who saved the world from demons 300 years ago.”
The statue depicted a man holding a sword plunge into the ground. Moreover, despite wearing armor, it overly emphasized the muscles on some parts. Also, despite being entirely made from stone, the details and features were just impressive.
Though, it was far from being identical to the real thing. Who even is that? Is that supposed to be me from 300 years ago?
“Its name comes from the story about the hero who defended this kingdom. When the kingdom was invaded by demons and the people gathered and eventually got cornered here in this place, the hero arrived and fended off all the demons. People consider it the safest place in the kingdom with the hero standing over it.” She said, like she was inspired by it.
That's right, that did happen.
Before, it was just a big abandoned building. The people gathered in that building since it was the only one left standing in the city after the demons laid waste to the area. It used to be just a small kingdom which is also probably the reason why the demons were able to easily overrun it. It was a stroke of luck that I happened to be in the kingdom that day. Now, it has been turned into a central park with a statue, that’s... supposedly me.
Still, it really is surprising that the Galdia Kingdom I once knew would be overflowed with things I’ve never known about before in this world. The buildings, shops, food, the warm atmosphere, and even the people.
Just then, a mother and child walked towards the statue. They stopped right in front of it, placed their hands together then bowed. The mother wore a smile to her face while the child beamed with a cheerful expression.
Something about it brought back memories of the past. Memories of the people—the expression they had after I fought off the demons that tried to attack them.
“Is something wrong?”
I’ve been quiet for a while that she might’ve noticed. But before I could respond, we were interrupted.
“Thief!! He stole my bag!” A woman cried.
To where the woman was pointing, a man was running while holding a bag. Some people tried to block the thief’s way but they were just forcibly shoved away. The thief must be skilled considering how easily he ran through the road with such speed.
I guess no matter what world you're in or how much it’s changed, these kinds of people will always exist.
Crowds were gathering around us.
“Eh? What’s happening?”
“Look over there. It looks like the woman’s stuff got stolen.”
It would be better to get out of here as soon as possible before the crowd blocked our path.
“Hey, we should...”
I looked beside me to call Alyss but she was not there.
Eh... Where is she? I swear she was just here seconds ago.
Don’t tell me...
I turned to the direction of where the thief had headed to and that was when I saw her chasing after him.
Though, the thief had already run so far away that it would be impossible to catch up. Despite that, she proved me wrong.
She kicked off the ground then suddenly, a gust of wind gathered around her foot. Immediately after, she swiftly ran off after the thief with surprising speed.
The thief looked back, noticing the fast approaching figure behind him. Panic ran across his face.
It only took seconds for her to close the distance. Alyss held out her hand, essence gathered on her palm. Then, a shard made of ice sprouted out from the air. On her command, the ice shard homed towards the ground the thief was stepping on. It didn’t hit his feet, but half a second after, ice spread through the ground and over his feet, immobilizing him.
The thief panicked further at the fact that he suddenly couldn’t move his leg.
Wind and ice. Using two elements at the same time. That was simply amazing.
Alyss-san went to the thief and took the bag off his hand. She then returned it to the woman from earlier. At that moment, her figure was somehow gracious and... beautiful.
“Thank you so much!” the woman cried.
The woman thanked Alyss-san in which she replied with a smile. Still, I couldn’t completely see her face as the hood was still covering her head the whole time. But from a distance, I could tell that she looks so content right now.
The guards soon arrived at the scene and apprehended the thief. Alyss-san explained what happened and after that, she returned.
“I’m sorry. Suddenly making a scene like that...” She said while scratching her cheeks.
“That was amazing.”
Those were my honest thoughts. All I could do was watch, shouldn’t I be the one apologizing? Though, I feel like there’s no need for me to say that.
Perhaps she didn’t expect my reaction, so she immediately looked away.
“It’s just I couldn’t ignore those that do bad things like that and especially when someone needed help. Even now, in this peaceful times, there will always be things like that.” She sounded a little bashful.
“What...? Is there a problem with that?”
“No, I’m just impressed. Honestly.”
“...Is that so?”
True. Even if the world is at peace, that doesn’t mean all bad things are gone. Though compared to 300 years ago, where every moment was filled with war, I’d say that this era is much more peaceful.
“...Well, let’s go on, shall we?” She said,
We have been walking through the city for a while now but the sun was yet to set and it was still pretty bright out. Despite that, I needed to go to the academy before sundown since arrangements for that might take some time.
“I think I'll be fine here now. I still need to go somewhere else.” I said. “Thank you so much for guiding me to the city.”
“Is that so?”
As we were about to part ways, two people wearing a similar robe to Alyss-san came running towards us.
“Princess! We were looking for you, where have you been...?”
“Hey Lisa! We’re still in public, you know.”
The other person chided.
“Nevermind that, Princess are you alright? I heard there was some commotion here just a while ago.”
“... Uhm, I’m fine really. Though I may have been involved in that, actually...”
“I knew it! The second we let our eyes off you, you go ahead and vanish then come back with more problems!”
What should I do here? Do I just quietly go? I feel like it’s going to be troublesome if I stay here longer...
As I was about to casually go...
“And? Who’s this man here?”
“I owe him for paying for my food since I may have forgotten to bring my wallet...” she said hesitantly.
So she really forgot her wallet.
“So I’ve tried to pay him back by guiding him through the city since he looks like he’s new here… and well, stuff happened. Like that commotion earlier...”
The person—who sounded like a woman let out a sigh.
“May I ask for your name?” She turned towards me with a serious tone.
I faintly swallowed my breath before talking.
“Sir Hiro, please excuse my lady’s actions” She bowed.
“No, no, no. It’s no problem at all. Actually, she’s been a big help by guiding me.”
“Thank you very much. Then, if you’ll excuse us.”
Eh? That’s it?
I thought it would turn into something really troublesome but I guess it’s all good. But then I remembered something on my mind, I hesitantly asked,
“Uhm, earlier you called her princess...”
“Ah, that’s right!”
Alyss-san then turned towards me.
“I haven’t properly introduced myself, have I?”
For the first time ever, she took off her hoodie. Short rosy hair. Lustrous gem-like eyes akin to an amethyst. It’s as though I can see my own reflection.
“Alyss Galdia. Hope we meet again, Hiro-san.”
—300 years ago.
Moon shimmered through the starless sky. Smoke arose from burnt houses. It was the dead of the night and only one thing could be heard: complete silence.
“Mom, what’s going to happen to us?” muttered a child clinging to her mother.
“It’s going to be okay. If we stay here, we're going to be safe.” the mother said.
A number of gazes gathered around the mother and child. Followed by tangled expressions. Despair, concern, fear, anger. All those spread together within the group. It was as if to show that there was no hope even if they stayed. The mother grimaced in thought but didn’t show it in her expression. Instead, she hugged her child tightly to protect her from their bleak eyes and from the very reason that drove them here in this place.
They were in an abandoned building within the city of already ruined houses. It was the only one standing left. Those that were left and survived gathered and stayed here, waiting for the storm to pass.
The ground faintly shook, and as it did, dust and debris fell from the sagging ceiling. As if a warning that sooner or later, this place will collapse. Aware of that fact, others soon start to lose their will.
“It’s no use...” one man muttered. His voice was shaking.
His words reach nothing but the cold air. Everyone was at a loss for words. But soon after that, the door made a loud banging sound. Terror and fear soon covered their faces. The door was crushed.
What came inside was what they feared. A pair of horns sprouting out of its head and a pointed tail attached to its rear. Crimson eyes stared down at them, fangs ready to devour. Its stature resembles man but the people know the existence that stands before them.
“Well, well, look what we have here,“ The demon walked closer towards its prey.
No one ran nor screamed. They knew that there was no point in doing so. The people remained still, stupefied. It’s as though they had accepted their fate.
At the sight of these humans presented before it, a distorted smile passed across the demon’s face.
“No...!” cried the child who was clinging tightly to her mother.
However, the demon suddenly stopped moving. His expression was still the same, like it hadn’t yet registered what had happened. Soon, the demon’s vision went to the floor. A thud sound followed after.
The demon's body falls to its knee, blood gushing out from its neck that once connected its head to its body. Shock ran through everyone watching.
What stands behind the now dead demon, a man holding a blood-covered sword.
“Are you guys ok?” He looked back, blood sprayed on his face. There was no emotion in his tone.
Apparently, he had been fighting demons before he had arrived here. Hundreds of demons had invaded the city yet this man right here stands on its two feet with no hint of exhaustion nor pain.
The people who had just been saved remained unable to move. The man didn’t receive any words from them. No cheers, no sound of gratefulness, no hint of relief, nothing. Instead, the expression he saw was that of horror.
The man immediately looked away. “Please stay here, this place is safe as long as I’m here.”
He shifted his focus to the outside where he sensed the presence of enemies.
The people inside remained as they were told, waiting as they heard the sound of a blade dancing outside the cold night.