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It’s been six hundred years, since the last chapter release…
Side Story – Bizef Forkranz’s Past
I had been dead inside.
Up until I had met an angel…
It was she who had given me the strength to live again.
Back then, I was called the hope of the Royal Capital’s Adventurers Guild.
Once, I had been the leader of a gang of troublemakers back in my hometown.
I was 15 and fearless, living in a rural town with less than a thousand people.
There was little in the way of fun there, so the brats around my age all dreamed of making a name for themselves in the faraway Capital.
I wasn’t any exception, and I had a lot more confidence in myself than your regular kid.
Nothing was an impossibility.
Even if there was something I couldn’t do now, I would definitely be able to in the future!
It was a baseless confidence that never left me.
Not to say that I was weak.
In fact, I was definitely strong enough to become an adventurer.
After I joined the Guild it seemed to be success after success for me and I quickly climbed the ranks.
I was only twenty when I reached C-Rank.
Now that I thought about it, that was my peak as the adventurer called Bizef.
As was natural, this earned me some jealousy. People tried holding me back.
Worse yet, I was the insolent type, so my relationship with my peers only got worse as the years went on.
On magic beast exterminations they left me out. On bandit supression missions they fed me false info. In the end, I was even ambushed by some fellow adventurers. How was I supposed to raise my rank when everyone was against me like this?
I fell into a slump, hard.
The promising adventurer who was the youngest C-Rank soon found his peers catching up.
And before long he was just another adventurer.
Even though the rate that he had been rising was the 10th fastest in Guild history.
It was unadulterated humiliation for me.
But all that had really happened was that I’d become ordinary.
If only I’d had the broadmindedness to accept that I had been less of a big deal than I’d thought.
Unfortunately I was too proud to do that.
Instead I vowed to myself that I would make a comeback.
To gain merit I went on dangerous missions, one after another. As long as it would get me ahead of my foes, I pulled outrageous stunts and made them work.
Because of my behaviour, my already small circle of friends pulled away from me.
Back then I hadn’t noticed though because I was always looking upwards.
Instead, I started to see enemies all around me. Eventually people started calling me Bizef the Mad Dog.
I think it was around that time that I began my weapon collection. It might have been a consequence of those feelings of betrayal, but I used the power of money to gather powerful armaments.
People would betray you, but a weapon never would. Since I couldn’t rely on people, I would have my weapons protect me instead, or so I reasoned…
But living a life where you relied only on your weapons and nobody else? The world wasn’t so soft that it would allow it.
One day I fell into a trap set by hostile adventurers and suffered a serious wound while on a mission to kill a man-eating white chalk tiger.
I came out of it badly injured. They said that even potions and healing magic couldn’t guarantee a full recovery.
The adventurer’s livelihood depends on his body. I had no choice but to quit.
I cursed my life.
There was nothing left. Only a mountain of debts.
What was I supposed to do, I wondered.
Only halfway through my twenties and already forced to retire. The days that followed were a blur to me. I had hit rock bottom.
It took a few months before anything changed.
It occurred to me that I was going to starve to death. I at least needed the money to eat.
So I picked myself up enough to look for a job.
I was a deadbeat, sure, but a former C-Rank adventurer was nothing to sneeze at.
The jobs came one after another. A bodyguard for a merchant caravan. A fencing instructor. But although I went from one job to the next, none of them rose my spirits.
And little wonder, because for all the praise they heaped on me for my experience, in their hearts they looked down on me for falling.
Eventually I was fed up with it all and accepted a job as a guard in the rural outskirts instead. Not that there was actually much work to do in the peaceful countryside.
Still, boring as it was, a job was a job. I didn’t care as long as I was getting paid. And the quicker I got out of the rotten Capital, the better, in my opinion.
So I arrived there. Beruga Town.
A peaceful place in the countryside, far away from the Royal Capital.
Surrounded by thick forests and farms.
If you wanted to put it kindly, it was peaceful, but to a city-dweller it was the boonies.
It hit me just how far I had fallen.
Yes, I had wanted to get away from the Capital, but this was the middle of nowhere.
If I had to say something, I suppose the food was good, but that was about it.
I was going to work long enough to make some money, and then I was going to go somewhere else.
At least that had been the plan.
One day a pair of children came into the guard station.
I think they might have been around ten. One had blonde hair, while the other’s was silver, and together they looked around in curiosity.
This was why I couldn’t stand the countryside.
The guard station was a serious place, not somewhere you could wander into for fun.
“You two, you’re not supposed to be in here without a reason!”
“W-We’re sorry!” the blonde one immediately apologised.
It wasn’t like I enjoyed on picking on children. All the more if they were cute and good-natured, so the next time I spoke it was a little softer.
“If you understand then you should go home.”
“Ah, please wait. My name is Tilea. This is my sister, Timu. Might you be Bizef-san?”
“Ummm~ Is it true that you were an adventurer?” asked the little blonde, eyes glimmering in excitement.
Ah, this again…?
I know that children couldn’t help it, but having this brought up just to sate their curiosity was a pain.
“…It was a long time ago, kid. Anyhow, this isn’t a place you can enter without permission. Go home, go home,” I said, a little irritated.
It was always hard to stay calm when my past was brought up. I knew it was cruel to take it out on children, but I couldn’t help it.
The stern expression I was making would be enough to scare her away.
I wondered if I’d be chased out of town for this. Perhaps the nickname ‘Mad Dog Bizef’ would spread to this tiny town as well.
That was fine, I thought resignedly. It wasn’t like I’d be here for long.
“Sooooo coool! This is my first time meeting an adventurer, you know! Could I have your autograph!?”
I was left totally bewildered.
It was the complete opposite of all the scorn I had faced all this time.
I began to wonder how long it had been since somebody had looked at me with respect in their eyes…
She wasn’t just flattering me either.
I could tell. This little girl was earnestly praising me.
She wasn’t like all the others who were polite on the outside but were sneering on the inside.
I had spent so long with those sorts that I had… forgotten… this feeling.
The time I hunted my first magic beast.
The time I protected my comrades from a wolf pack.
The time I crushed a bandit gang and rescued a kidnapped girl.
I had been praised for those.
There had even been parents crying tears of gratitude.
It was thanks to this feeling that I had continued to forge onwards despite my weakness.
In the end I was so overjoyed with the blonde girl’s reaction that I spent hours regaling her with tales of my adventures.
The basics of magic, my life in the Capital, fights with bandits or with a man-eating shark… It wasn’t the kind of content that girls would usually find interest in.
Despite that, this girl just listened, rapt.
“Mmn, mmn, and then?”
“Honestly I thought I was a goner. But my sword made it just in the nick of time and I managed to break out of the circle of wolves.”
“Fuee, that’s incredible… Could it be that that sword on your hip is the same one?”
“It is, actually. I take good care of it even now.”
“U-Ummm, would it be okay if I touched it?”
“Sure, but just be careful. It’s dangerous, Tilea-chan.”
Any other day I’d have thought it madness to hand my sword over to a stranger. But the way she praised me so earnestly was cute enough that I just agreed.
Tilea-chan held the sword up and tried to take a stance, but she couldn’t quite get it high enough.
I saw her arms tremble as she took quick breaths. A bit heavy for a kid.
Not a surprise considering it was a greatsword that even adult men would find trouble with, to say nothing of a young girl like her.
But it brought a smile to my face to see her do her darndest to swing it.
“Haah, haah, haah. It’s no good. I-I just can’t hold it up.”
“Hahaha, that’s no surprise. This is what you’d call a greatsword. You wouldn’t be able to without training.”
“Haah, haah, it seems not. Then Bizef-san, could I see you swing it instead?”
She handed it back, so I cut audibly through the air a few times.
“Whoa, that’s amazing. That sound too. So this is an expert.”
“I’m actually quite out of practice. My swings used to be a fair bit sharper.”
I suddenly realised that I’d gone from trying to kick her out to performing for her.
But her eyes just had that effect on me.
“Oneechan, it’s getting late.”
“Ah, you’re right. Look at the time.”
“Right? I’m hungry~”
“Ehehe. Sorry, Timu. I just got caught up in Bizef-san’s stories.”
Unlike Tilea, her silver-haired sister Timu didn’t seem to have much interest in the stories of an adventurer. That was the more normal reaction for a girl.
Tilea-chan was a special case in that regard.
“We’ll be leaving now, Bizef-san. Would it be all right if I came and listened to your stories again?”
“Of course. You’ll always be welcome here. I had a lot of fun too, meeting a girl as interesting and adorable as you.”
She beamed a little abashedly in response. What a pure kid.
Before she left though, her expression turned serious.
“What is it?”
“Have you given up on adventurer?”
“Yeah. It’s a shame but… I can’t anymore.”
Even after my injuries healed, I couldn’t move the way I wanted. Simple jobs were one thing, but difficult jobs like I used to take were beyond me now.
When I explained it to her, Tilea-chan’s expression turned mournful.
It was uncomfortable to see.
“Ah, it’s nothing for you to worry about, Tilea-chan. It’s something that happened a long time――”
“Thank you very much!”
“Eh!? W-What’s wrong?”
“You’ve been protecting us all this time. You even got badly hurt because of it. So, thank you very much!”
Tilea-chan bowed deeply to me, her sister following suit.
“I-It’s not something you need to thank me for. It was my job, and it’s not like I saved everybody.”
“That’s not true. My family runs a restaurant. My dad said that the reason we have our ingredients is because the adventurers are working hard to hunt them. That they were stopping bandits and hunting dangerous magic beasts to protect everyone else. It’s because of hard-working adventurers like you that we can live the way we do, so――”
Before I knew it I had wrapped her in my arms.
It was what I had been searching for ever since my retirement…
It was what I had wanted, all this time…
Not retirement money, not job prospects, but the words she had just told me.
For the next few years, Tilea-chan would occasionally visit to listen to more of my stories.
Not once did she get bored of them, listening to every story with glittering eyes.
Her passion for adventurers was undeniable.
For a while I had even considered teaching her the basics if she had the talent and drive.
In the end though, I decided it was better for it to remain a passion.
The life of an adventurer was filled with hopes and dreams, yes. But ambition also bred toxicity.
I didn’t want her to experience that.
Besides, the girl herself was already resolved to pursue her dream of being a chef, and she had the talent for it too. It seemed like a day didn’t go by without her skill improving.
Even your average professional from the Capital was no match for her these days. In my opinion it was better that she follow her dreams of being a cook instead of getting tangled up in dangerous professions like adventuring.
She was a fantastic cook, a beauty that lit up the room, the one I owed for saving my spirit, and the person that I loved.
It was a gradual thing over these last 6 years, but my feelings seemed to grow by the day.
Plenty of other men here had their eyes on her too, but I crushed every one of them.
Tilea-chan was too precious for these hicks.
She had no idea of course, but it was actually a fairly common occurance.
I was sitting in the guard station with George and the others, thinking things through.
Was now the right time?
I ought to confess to her soon…
“Bizef-san, did Tilea-chan make that?”
“Yeah, I got it off her as thanks the other day.”
This dish was called ‘nikujaga’.
It looked and tasted incredible. Everyone else in the room was staring enviously.
You aren’t getting any.
“It looks amazing. Even though she’s such a great cook and a beauty too, how come nobody is going after her?” said one of my colleagues.
“She’s a beautiful, filial girl. You’d expect her to have had a boyfriend or two by now, right?” agreed another.
“I’ve lived in a few towns now, but there’s never been a girl as cute as Tilea,” yet another praised.
As if the girl I loved could be anything less.
It’d be a problem if they lumped her in with the rest.
“Great at cooking, a personality like the sun, and a stunner too. On top of that, she’s a great person. I bet all the youngsters are after her.”
“Idiot, big bro Bizef’s already sent them off to the afterlife,” laughed George.
“Oi, oi, that’s slander,” I said.
How would he take responsibility if some weird rumours ruined her impressions of me.
“What do you mean slander? The other day didn’t you threaten that kid who tried to make a pass at her?”
“T-That was… The guy was just being too frivolous about it so I taught him a lesson,” I countered.
“I see now,” somebody nodded. “So that’s why Tilea-chan doesn’t have a boyfriend. So Bizef-san was the culprit.”
“Kuh, that’s not it. I’m just genuinely worried about Tilea-chan and…”
“Haha, it’s fine. That girl definitely likes you too,” he replied.
“Of course!” added another. “Don’t you see the way her eyes sparkle when she listens to your stories!”
“T-That is true…”
“Bizef-san, you’d better invite us to the wedding ceremony,” another joked.
Tilea-chan liked me?
I mean I had an inkling, but it seemed so much more certain after hearing others say it.
Even after the others left to do their jobs, I couldn’t stop grinning like an idiot.
In the end I had to slap myself when I heard somebody enter.
Somebody who seemed to be shouting, actually.
I strained my ears, and seemed to hear Tilea-chan.
After promptly heading to the entrance, it turns out my suspicions were correct.
“Bizef-san! Bizef-san! Bizef-saaan!”
Tilea-chan was frightened!
What had happened, exactly?
Still, nothing was impossible for the man named Bizef. Bandits, magic beasts, armed with my skill and courage I’d crush anything that got in the way.
After all, this was my chance to show her my appeal as a man!
With some difficulty I managed to suppress my grin before heading towards her.
“Why if it isn’t Tilea-chan. You don’t look too good. What’s wrong?”
“S-, Something outrageous has happened. I-, it’s a disaster. It’s a disaster!”
“Y-, Yes. S-, Somebody’s using a dragon to attack――”
See Chapter 17 – “Illusion magic, how fearsome!” for Tilea’s side of this incident, and the downfall of Bizef-san (‘s already slim chances with Tilea).
We have a new manga project.
From back alley brawls to bashful bonds, two former-delinquents face their next fight: long-term relationships.
During her high school years, Takebe was the top dog at her school. But with her old friends now living as happy riajuu, Takebe was faced with an impending sense of crisis.
Takebe thus resolved herself to quit delinquency, but the result of that was a fated meeting with her old rival, Soramori. Losing a fist-fight against Soramori, for some reason or other Takebe was now dating her.
What kind of relationship did the two of them have back in high school? And would Takebe ever manage to graduate from delinquency…!?