Their respective rewards
After we defeated the Demon Lord and took the talisman with us, the King rewarded us.
Cody asked for the title of general of the Albein’s army.
Mylarka wanted one of the few phantom birds in the world.
Yuma requested to be put in charge of the orphanage for the adoption of children without relatives.
Aileen, instead, wanted a rare booze called Divine liquor…
Some of the presents wondered if their choices were really okay, but the heroes looked satisfied.
If a human wore the Demon Lord’s talisman, the curse would kick in and drain the life from them. Hence, the necessity of someone who could take care of it arose…
I nonchalantly volunteered for this task.
Otherwise, they would just throw it in the treasury and I’d have to become a thief to return it to its rightful owner.
If it had the power to obstruct foes, it could be pretty useful… but I decided to keep it to myself. I wanted as many tricks up my sleeve as possible. It made me feel safer, even if I didn’t know how to use them.
That was my reward as a member of the expedition.
“Dick Silver. There’s no doubt that you reached the Demon Lord and fought alongside the heroes, although you didn’t contribute as much as them. I can’t grant you a great reward, but I allow you to make a wish.”
“But… Your Highness, I would like to express my opinion. Dick was…”
Cody stood up for me. He had brown hair and eyes, smooth, childish features and always wore a bright and gentle smile… but now he looked flustered.
Was it because he wanted to prove my worth?
“Cody, thanks for your concern. But I didn’t do much.”
I shook my head, although what he was trying to say was admirable. I couldn’t afford to let the King or his closest collaborators acknowledge my abilities.
“I understand, but… It’s unfair to consider such a thing as the reward.”
“Well… I just tagged along with you, nothing more. Even that takes some skill, but I only wanted to reach the Demon Lord’s base with all my might. Regarding the talisman, is there anyone else who could handle it?”
I wasn’t concerned about the polite speech, but about my next move.
The King was generous, even though I was ruining my image by myself.
“Still, this doesn’t change that you took part in the expedition. Don’t be modest, young man.”
“You’re such a liar, Dick”, whispered a disappointed Mylarka. Yuma didn’t break her usual smile as she remained silent. Aileen was looking around nervously, probably looking forward to taste her reward.
In the end, I was young like the others.
From now on, each of us will start walking the path we’ve chosen.
I was sad about it, because it was time to say goodbye, but our party was assembled just to stop the Demon Lord, after all.
“Even though you didn’t cross swords with the Demon Lord, you helped your comrades during the journey. I’ll ask you once more. What is that you wish for?”
“I thank you for your leniency. Then…”
I pondered on it.
I still had to decide what to do.
The best way to avoid being the center of attention and have a lifestyle devoid of economical hindrances was…
“Your Highness, I wish to start a new guild in the royal capital.”
If I were a Guild Master, I wouldn’t have to work and could leave all the credits to adventurers.
In order to get away from public attention, I would have to recruit and train members of the guild, aka adventurers, and nothing more.
It was common for a retired grade SSS adventurer to become Guild Master… of course, I would need money and connections, but I could talk them over with the King.
The important thing was to not join the strongest guilds, because it would have the opposite effect.
The prospect of requests and managing adventurers was exciting.
In order to achieve something like that, I’ll keep a low profile and never aim high…
I should make sure to be known by people with bizarre requests.
It’d take some time, but it’s definitely possible.
“Guild Master? Dick, were you thinking about such a thing?”
“A guild where the souls of adventurers are gathered… No, I must calm down!”
“Oh! Nice idea. Can we drop by?”
The girls looked pleased, but I let it slide. As long as they came over every once in a while, my image of phantom Guild Master would remain unscathed.
But given how famous they are, it’d be better if they disguised themselves…
“Starting a new guild? In this nation there are already twelve guilds of adventurers, but the twelfth isn’t in good conditions after the old Guild Master retired last month. You could take his place, Dick Silver, and start your activity right away.
Or perhaps would you prefer to start from scratch?”
“Is it located in a well-known place?”
“No. The fact that it’s on the Twelfth Imperial Street, a zone filled with crime, didn’t help its growth. This is one of the main problems…
Would you rather start a new one?”
He wanted to be sure.
Even though I only took part in the expedition, thinking that I could accept a terrible secondhand guild, located in a likewise horrible place as reward, was too much.
But as horrible as it was, I had a score of 100.035.
I couldn’t care less about crime.
The occasional visits of some people had to remain a secret… Still, accepting absurd requests from behind the scenes would realize my ideal guild.
But even if the guild was terrible, it was fine. In the end, no one could expect that the next Guild Master is a person worthy of their title.
“It would be an honor to be put in charge of such a guild. Please, let me try.”
“Err… I’m a little conflicted, but if this is what you want, so be it. I believe that your humility is exaggerated, but I guess youngsters and adults wish for different things.”
He said sincerely, looking relaxed after no one asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Maybe it was for that reason that the Princess took part in the meeting by merely looking at us… Cody and I will beg pardon for that kind of end.
After the meeting came to an end, a parade to celebrate for the heroes’ feat was arranged, but besides Cody, no one wanted to take part in it.
“The likes of you are… no, I knew it since the start of our journey.”
As we exited the castle, he decided to tag along until it started.
We chatted on the stone bridge nearby the gateway, each of us in a different pose.
Mylarka crossed her arms and leaned her back against the parapet, over which sat Aileen. Yuma kneeled and was sitting on her feet.
I simply sat on the ground.
“I took part in that journey because I wanted the Fairy Bird. Now it’s mine, so I don’t need to show off anymore.”
“It sure is cute ♪”
“Yes, but I’ll pinch your cheeks if you say you want to see its soul.
Yuma, you’re still young, but you really are the daughter of an Archbishop. Taking care of an orphanage is really admirable.”
“I saw a lot of starving children along our journey. I promised them that if we succeeded in defeating the Demon Lord, I would’ve come to visit them again.”
I wanted to ask her if she really was nine years old. But since I was also quite singular despite being five years older than her, I stopped.
“Wait a minute, Yuma is the daughter of an Archbishop? I didn’t know that.”
“Because no one told you. Just like I didn’t tell you anything about myself and neither did Aileen about where she lives.”
Our expedition lasted for three months, but we still didn’t know a thing of each other… Well, not knowing everything was actually helpful.
“Listen, Dick. When you grow up, how about we drink this Divine liquor together? At first, they thought I could drink, but as soon as they read the age on my guild card, I was told to wait my sweet sixteen…”
“Y-Yeah, sure… but I’ll be blunt: when you visit, make sure to look unrecognizable. You’re too famous.”
“I hoped for such concern, but it’s not cool. I’ll do whatever I want. Don’t tell me what to do.”
Even Mylarka looked like she wanted to pay a visit, but she wasn’t aware that it was written all over her face.
During our journey, she was an unfriendly girl and treated me as if to say ‘what do you want from me,’ though.
“At least they got us out from the back door. Everyone in the capital knows about Sweet disaster.”
“Listen… I told you to stop calling me that. It’s annoying when ignorant people who don’t understand the beauty of Annihilation Magic address me with that name.”
“Mylarka, will you go to the Magic academy… I mean, will you go to study with your father?”
“Y-Yes. I was thinking about it…”
Mylarka understood Yuma’s origins and she herself was the daughter of a teacher at the Magic academy.
Both Cody’s parents were adventurers and he hoped to catch up to them.
Since he is a prodigy, he had already outdone them at the age of four. But he still has great respect for them.
“Right, Cody, let me tell you this. You’re definitely strong, but don’t die ‘for your land’.”
“I can’t be like you, huh… You will hate to hear this, but I believe that without your advices, I wouldn’t be alive now.”
“W-Well… no, it’s embarrassing. Don’t reply so seriously, please.”
“Hahaha, sorry. I won’t die for my land, but I might die for my ideals. I believe that knights should be this way.”
I wondered if saying such things looking that serious was some required ability for a hero.
“It’s… time to go for me. Guys, I hope to see you around.”
“Likewise. Enjoy the parade for us.”
“Cody, do your best.”
He returned to the castle, but we remained there a bit longer.
“H-Hey, Dick… where were you born?”
“My father is a farmer. I won’t tell you where my village is because I want to keep it a secret.”
“I-I see… then, the next time you go back…”
“I don’t think I’ll ever do that because I have lots of older brothers. I ran away from home, so I’ll remain in the capital.”
I interrupted her quietly, but an awkward silence fell the next instant. I was never good at reading the mood… even though I should learn to do so.
“Dick, can I drop by? Splitting up like this would make me feel lonely.”
“I don’t want to go back home either, I also thought about coming along with you.”
“M-Me too… My home is close after all. And you looked at Aileen with lecherous eyes. I have to keep an eye on you two.”
“Hahaha! Guys are like that. He is especially happy when Boing Boing is involved.”
Happy my ass, I wanted to say, but that unexpected development made me feel better.
I was sorry about Cody. Splitting up would be hard even for one who got over solitude like me, that’s why I was worried until now.
“Then let’s go to my new refuge. But disguise yourselves properly. I don’t need to do it, though.”
“You really are obsessed with that. You’re not adopting me, don’t be boring.”
“I agree with her. Mylarka, you would have done what he says until the end, huh.”
“T-That’s not true! I’m just generous enough to listen to egoist kids’ requests.”
“Hahaha, I’m glad ♪ We’ll still hang together from now on ♪”
The silent priestess had the charm of a little sister.
I was containing myself from putting her on my shoulder and kept acting cool.
Despite not being a party anymore, our relationship didn’t end. Also, thinking about the chance of asking them for help every now and then filled me with joy.
That’s how I became the Guild Master of that rathole on the 12th Street.
I used the money I received as funds for the guild.
Would I succeed into making a place for adventurers to gather as I do my best to remain unknown?
Five years went by since the day I took the reins.