Author: Demon Lord D (D魔王)
Chapter 1: Welcome to the Era of Reality
[In the 100 years since the “Unicorn Legion” fought the Death Dragon, magical creatures slowly started to disappear. The other intelligent species other than humans, such as elves, dwarves, werewolves and beastmen, all started to leave this land for various reasons, to look for a new home. Humans became the only species on this continent with higher intellect. Historians generally agree, that this signified the end of the Legendary Age.”
–Lim . Boladier
<<Historical Records of the Ulia Continent>> Scroll 18
Sighing, Ellen lowered his last book.
During the time he had been in the capital, he had already read through all the books about the “Legendary Age”. Every one of those books makes some mention of the Unicorn Legion, but none had any solid information.
“All the members of the Unicorn Legion sacrificed themselves to defeat the Death Dragon”, this seems to be the common consensus amongst the modern historians.
They don’t even care to know the name of the members…
The elf thought as he quickly walked out of the library.
The bar “The Three Pirates” in the lower city has basically regained its atmosphere since the war, and its supplies were adequate, but the prices has been increased by several multiples.
This forced the mercenaries to accept jobs with higher rewards more enthusiastically, and also increased the rate of them creating dead bodies by quite a bit. If the dead bodies created were not their own, they would come to this bar after work for sure. – This tradition has existed since 300 years ago, and would probably continue to exist.
It was very easy to forget the difference in time in this rowdy atmosphere.
A woman carry a baby walked between the patrons of the bar with difficulty, occasionally calling out pitifully with a low voice. Her responses were either harsh scolding or vulgar jokes.
Ellen sat in a far corner of the bar, holding a silver coin and hesitating as to how he would pass it over.
Suddenly, someone took the coin from between his fingers, calling out to the owner of the establishment “two cups of Dawn Manor Wine.”
Ellen turned his head to look at the self-assertive client: it was a party member who had joined in the mission to ambush the rebels during the war, everyone calls him Cain.
Cain was a very unique individual, not because his face made him especially memorable or anything – truthfully, his getup had always been the same as today’s: heavy armor from head to toe, even his face was covered – it was because, in the several months since Ellen had known him, even despite having partied together in several missions, Ellen still could not completely grasp what this person was thinking.
This heavy armored individual was a silent, lone wolf, and almost always received only solo missions. In the few rare occasions when they operated together, he always left immediately after the mission was complete, even the reward was collected by a middleman.
But his skills and sense cannot be made light of.
For example, during the mission against the rebels, Cain secretly cast several area magic. The timing was perfect, with none the wiser, the others in the party would shore that up as their “condition seeming to be exceptionally good today.” If it was not for his familiarity with magic and an elf’s exceptional night vision, Ellen would probably have missed it as well.
A warrior with magical talents would surely be a great boon to any party, and yet he chooses to hide it.
Ellen wasn’t someone who likes to look into another’s past, so he chose to keep silent. But since then, he can’t help but pay closer attention to this person.
— If he wasn’t that antisocial, he would be a hot choice for employers.
But “antisocial” seems to be too mild a term, “extremely withdrawn” is a more accurate description. He was never seen greeting anyone, giving a nod in return to another’s greeting, is already a very friendly gesture. Most of the time, talking to him is similar to talking to a brick wall. It might be because the circumstances of their meeting was a bit different, or because Ellen was one of the few among the mercenaries to try to maintain a relationship with him, Cain retains a reluctant hot and cold attitude towards him.
But being so forward in interacting with him, today was the first time ever.
The bar owner looked at the silver coin with suspicion, placing it in his mouth to bite it and staring at it for a long while, before finally going towards the counter, coming back a moment later and placing two cups on the table, he said in a rough voice “ain’t got enough in the storage.”
The mugs were only filled a little over half-full by wine, certainly not enough to be worth half a silver coin. But it seemed that Cain was not someone to make a fuss either, so he received the mugs without a word.
Ellen waited for him to take off his helmet, but he simply flipped his visor up, turned towards an empty corner and tossed the drink back.
It wasn’t as if the elf was not curious, he simply refrained from prying.
And so, in the rowdy bar, only this corner seemed to be under a silencing spell.
Until the warrior put his cup down, and replaced his visor, did Ellen push his own cup towards him and said softly, “can you tell me, why I shouldn’t give charity to that woman?”
Cain gave a low sarcastic laugh from under the helmet, “the child she’s holding is bought. – Something like a nun from the Grand Temple having a child, while it can’t be announced as a miracle, it still can be traded for a few coins.”
“Until that child gets to about 6 or 7, and can’t garner anymore sympathy, they will be sold to the [Mermaid Brothel] the next street over. After that, she can buy another one.”
The elf stared at him in shock, hoping to find that it was a joke under the helmet, but logically he can tell that Cain was completely truthful.
As if thinking that Ellen’s reaction seemed to be a little too big, Cain stood up, and patted him on the shoulder.
“Sometimes I really don’t know where you’re from, the Legendary Age from 300 years ago? – Either way, welcome to the Era of Reality.”
“In the Era of Reality,” when Cain pushed the cup back towards him, Ellen asked without looking back at him, “As a Holy Paladin, do you have to be so careful?”
The armored hand froze for a moment, “Because in the Era of Reality, rather than gods, people have more faith in this.”
He didn’t deny his guess, and the sound of the armor gradually became distant.
Ellen looked at the item Cain placed down – a silver coin, hesitated for a moment, then stretched his hand towards the cup of wine, picked it up, and drained it.
In the past, his friends would often say he was too rigid and disciplined, not even drinking wine, something that was harmless and enjoyable. Now that he has tried it, he felt disappointed.
Perhaps he should have tried it 300 years ago. The wine back then would probably taste as sweet as they say, at least it wouldn’t taste like it did now, of a bitterness that burned in that empty corner of his heart.
At his third cup, the elf felt that he was waiting.
Perhaps in a moment, someone would push open the door while joking loudly, and call out his name, complaining about how difficult that the old Ent they had dealt with today was.
But until the bar closed, the ones he was waiting for never came.
–Because, whether it was Ents or them, neither exists in the world anymore.