Chapter 15:

Chapter 14. New Goal

Zero to Hero


“How much longer are you going to sleep? You promised to take me shopping today!”

“You are not coming! He’s supposed to go on a private date with me!”

“Never a quiet day with you lot around, is there?” I replied, the energetic girls' bickering becoming a familiar part of my daily routine.

A week had passed since our arrival in Ostrium city, and Tina’s attitude had undergone a drastic change. Initially upset due to the absence of her siblings and my inability to teleport us to Kirksawald, she gradually warmed up thanks to the myriad activities available in this sprawling city maze.

“Hurry up! Why are you always the last one to get up?” Tina complained loudly, seemingly forgetting the intense and draining sparring sessions I had with Fernard.

“Do you two want to grab breakfast in the dining hall or in town?” I asked, trying to soothe the kink in my shoulder from the daily spars.

Fernard, five years my senior, had been someone I initially looked up to when I first joined Dragonspire as a clueless outsider. Already renowned worldwide with numerous accomplishments, he eventually became a close friend as I rapidly grew in strength. By my 20th birthday, I was on the verge of surpassing him.

Yet, fate didn’t align with my expectations. While I stagnated and grew rusty, Fernard continued to surge ahead. Sparring with him over the past week was an eye-opening experience that left me with mixed feelings.

Despite the corruption, Fernard retained his original appearance but gained incredible endurance, speed, and power, amplifying his natural strengths and rendering me seemingly powerless in comparison.

The sparring sessions were no longer battles between two evenly matched individuals. His absolute dominance over me in all things physical nullified my advantages in elemental magic, rendering my spells useless against him.

After each session, I felt defeated. It reminded me of the aftermath of my fight with the strongest man in the world, Zishell Yelvaris. It felt as though my years of training and dedication had amounted to nothing, leaving me knowing that I could never reach their level, no matter how hard I tried.

However, in the midst of it all, a glimmer of hope flickered within me. If Fernard could achieve such power with only a fraction of her soul and strength, I couldn't begin to imagine what the ten enlightened ones could accomplish now. For the first time, I glimpsed a future where my demise wasn't imminent.

Sure, I wouldn't regain the spotlight or the adoration of the masses as I once did, but at least I could envision a future where I wasn't facing an inevitable demise.


“What are you spacing out for? Let’s go get some breakfast in town. I’m starving!” Tina’s complaint snapped me back to the present.

As we wandered through the bustling streets in search of a place to dine, we peeked into various shops. Finally settling on a crowded eatery with a delightful aroma, we ordered a variety of delicious dishes.

“So, what’s the plan, Ken? You still remember about my poor village, right?” Candace asked as we settled in, awaiting our food.

“Here’s the plan. Tina, head home and inform your parents about the situation. Apologize to Bailee’s village on my behalf for not being able to visit as planned. Zeev should have safely reached Kirksawald without much trouble, given his strength. Lovetta is strong as well, so I’m not worried about her, but I’m unsure how long her journey will take.

“When Lovetta arrives, she should be fine in Kirksawald; she spent nearly half a year there with me and knows the city well. Besides, Osmar, the hero, is undoubtedly the strongest beastman alive. He and his wife treated us like their own children during our stay.

“I’ll head home and visit my family. It’s only a three-day horse ride from here. After spending some time with my family, we can head to Yelwraek and see where that teleport circle can take us, and then decide our next steps.” I explained, outlining the plan I had meticulously crafted over the past week.

“Sounds good! Finally, it’s just the two of us again!” Candace chimed in joyously.

“Nope. I’m not going home,” Tina declared, instantly dismantling my well-constructed plan.

“Don’t be selfish, Tina. Your parents and Ruth are worried about your siblings. You need to go back and update them about the situation,” I urged.

“Nope. I’m not going back. I know my dad won’t let me leave again if I go home,” the stubborn wolf girl retorted as our food arrived at the table.

“So, you're okay with them worrying about all three of their children until I can revisit? It might take years,” I reasoned, hoping to appeal to her sense of responsibility.

"Don’t try to guilt trip me! After all our travels, coming to a place like this, and seeing just how much the world has to offer, there's no way I’m going back to Chelmswell and that boring, monotonous life."

"Fine. Do what you want. It’s not like you'd listen to me anyway. Let’s just enjoy this food and then go shopping," I replied, resigned to the fact that I couldn’t change the stubborn girl’s mind.

“Let’s go clothes shopping! I want to buy a beautiful dress.”

“No way! I want to go look at swords. I want to buy a fancy one that lets me imbue it with magic.”

As soon as we finished our delicious breakfast, the pair started their quarrel once again.

"Since neither of you have any money, how about we look at some maps? I want to buy some regional ones to make my traveling easier."

“It’s not fair that you can just conjure gold from nothing when everyone else has to earn it!” the wolf girl complained.

“You know it took me years of daily studying and training to refine my earth magic to a point where I could conjure gold, right?”

“Blah blah blah. No one cares! Most of us could train our entire lives and never have unlimited free money!”

“Blame yourself and your lack of talent,” I replied, bracing myself for the onslaught of thwacking.

“It’s my dad’s fault! I never knew how much he wasn't teaching me until I started getting advice from the headmaster!” Tina complained.

“The chieftain is just too talented to get that strong without a proper mentor,” I replied, refraining from adding anything that might spark more aggression.

“You're right though. That headmaster might be tiny and speak strangely, but he gives great advice.”

“Of course, I’m right. Maybe you should have listened to me more during our travels,” I said, knowing I was being ignored.

The rest of the morning flew by. We went map shopping, and I was pleased to pick up a few regional maps to make my upcoming journey easier, reducing the guesswork about our location.

With my new maps in hand, Candace persuaded me into taking her dress shopping. She bought a beautiful dress and some more clothes for the journey, although she hardly needed a dress to look more beautiful.

While Tina grumbled the whole time, she ended up purchasing some clothes as well, citing that she might as well take advantage of my "unearned" money.

“Buy me an artifact sword that can do ice magic,” Tina demanded as we stopped by a quiet little restaurant for some much-needed lunch.

“What’s the point? You can’t even use elemental magic to fill the thing up,” I questioned the unreasonable girl.

“That is the point! Since I can’t use elemental magic, it’s beneficial for me to use weapons that can cover my weaknesses! What good are you if you can’t even fill something up with magic once in a while?” The girl sneered, implying that I wouldn’t understand such simple concepts.

While Tina acts brash and rude, much like with Thane, once she starts to respect someone, her behavior changes drastically. After a week of getting training tips and advice from the headmaster, her opinion of the tiny beastman had improved greatly yet somehow still treats me with such disrespect.

Not in the mood to tease the girl more than I already had, we followed Tina to different blacksmith shops in search of a suitable sword to her liking.

True to her words, the wolf girl wasn’t shy about spending my money and ended up purchasing an expensive longsword imbued with a powerful artifact that would freeze on impact.

Heading back to the academy with both satisfied with their purchases, I was greeted by Yami the moment we set foot on the academy grounds.

“Hi Yami. Sorry I had to leave you with Gwen. You stand out too much in such a busy city,” I explained while giving her plenty of pets.

Meeting up with Gwen, the girls chatted happily with my sister as the trio had grown rather friendly over the week. Soon after, we joined Fernard and the headmaster and headed to town for our last meal together.

“Are you sure you don’t want to spar with Nolan before you head out? It’s not often one gets to go up against one of the enlightened ones,” Fernard asked sincerely, but I could only manage a laugh.

“Fernard, what’s the point of me facing one of the strongest in the world when I am like an infant compared to the likes of you? I just want a simple life and hopefully not die in 15 years. I don’t even know why I wasted your time with those worthless sparring sessions.”

“Gwen! Can you stop him from acting like this?” Candace complained, making it sound like I said something wrong.

“I don’t mind the way he is now. He’s been through enough. Ken, once you help out Candace and do what else you gotta do, just come back and go live a simple life in Miodod with Emma.”

“Sounds like a great plan. Thanks, Gwen,” I replied, liking what my younger sister suggested the best.

Not everyone has what it takes to reach the top, and clearly, I’m not that person anymore. Living a quiet life in my small village might just be the best plan going forward.

Chatting late into the night and thanking the headmaster for providing us with boarding and helping with the training, I returned to my room with Yami and turned in for some much-needed rest to be refreshed for the new journey.