For a moment I wondered if my ears were playing with me.
However, there was no obvious change in Frillite’s expression, which meant she was telling the truth.
I wanted to shout out loud, ‘Even if it’s the mid-point of the plot, level 60 is too high!’
But thinking about it again, unlike the other Heroes who acted with their parties, she acted all alone.
So, all the experience points reaped were monopolized by her alone, there was no one to share with.
But, even considering that, 60 was still too high.
“What the hell had you been doing, Frillite? Level 60, seriously?”
“Didn’t I tell you before? I have been busy subjugating monsters since childhood.
The levels I raised in the process just came out to be so high.”
“Monster subjugations, uh? Then you must have consumed a lot of beast cores.”
“I ate all the cores of the monsters I killed.
Besides that, I also ate what my father gave me… I guess I could say that I did consume more than the others.”
Frillite spoke nonchalantly.
Is this the majesty of the golden spoon…?
‘We backbenchers are still paddling, while you, the topper had already begun studying ahead of time..?’
Maybe the reason Cloud became a poor punk was not because of his lack of ability, but because he was simply a dirt spoon?
If Cloud had been the son of a well-off noble family like her, he might have grown into a full-fledged noble Hero.
‘That’s why some people say, life’s shit.’
It was time to ask Frillite about her abilities, of course, while feeling the impermanence of life.
When, a cavalryman riding on a horse came from the other side of the forest and joined the army formation.
He got off his horse quickly and glided down, running straight to the lord’s barracks and informed loudly.
“Count Lykel! Miss Hero! Another Hero is arriving!”
I looked at Frillite with eyes wondering what that meant.
She tilted her head implying that she didn’t know it herself.
We turned around and went back to the lord’s barracks, and we got to hear more details as we got closer.
“Is that true? You mean, Hero Lorian is coming?”
“Indeed, my lord! He said he would come by the time the preparations on our side gets finished!”
…At this point, it seems it is going to become a Heroes’ gathering session.
* * *
When Frillite heard that Lorian and his party members were coming, she stopped heading into the woods by herself.
It was better to cooperate with the Lorian to subjugate the ogre.
Because acting in a group rather than herself can reduce the risk in many ways.
On the other hand, I was deeply troubled when I heard about Lorian’s arrival.
Should I leave before Lorian arrives?
Or should I stay and strive for the ogre’s glyph?
After much deliberation, I choose the ogre’s glyph.
I will earn more returns from the ogre’s glyph than the risk involved from exposing myself earlier and getting tailed by Lorian.
In order for Lorian to set a tail on me, he would have to at least go to a city and contact his cronies, but as long as I move quickly before that, it won’t be too dangerous.
If I don’t stop at a town or a city in the middle and run all the way through the forest and inhabited terrains, how are you going to find me then?
Camping is a bit annoying, but it’s unavoidable to get benefits.
“There he comes.”
I looked in the direction in which she was pointing with her chin.
Eight figures were coming from a distance riding on horses.
The horses’ speed slowed down a little, and they stopped exactly in front of Count Lykel, who had came out to meet them.
“Goodness, Hero Lorian.
It is an honor to meet you like this.”
“I am also honored to meet Count Lykel, whom I have only heard of through rumors.
You look a lot better with a beard than I was told.”
The handsome, long brown-haired man who was in the lead got off his horse, replied.
Wait, long hair?
“Did Lorian grow his hair?”
“I think so.”
“You think so? You haven’t seem him in the middle?”
“Because there was nothing to meet for, so I didn’t.
The last time I saw him was at the Imperial Social Banquet like you.”
“Is that so?”
It was when we were having a silly conversation, Lorian with his party members and Count Lykel passed through the assembled soldiers.
Lorian was walking on his way, chatting with Count Lykel.
Before long, Lorian’s eyes caught Frillite.
“Frillite? Why are you here…”
Upon discovering Frillite, he looked as if he had received a delightful surprise.
That expression was distorted as soon as he saw me standing next to Frillite.
“Cloud? Why are you here…”
Same words, different feeling.
I know, right?
Maybe some discriminating feelings between a noble and a commoner because he is a royalty?
Damn Lorian, why be so meanish.
“Ah, that’s James, Frillite-sama’s friend… um? Did you just say Cloud?”
The Count, who was about to introduce me, listened to Lorian and doubted his ears again.
There was no need to hide now, so I nodded and extended my hand.
“I’m Cloud, the Hero of the Kingdom of Prona.”
“Ah, yes… But that, you said, Frillite-sama’s friend, until just a moment ago…”
“Friend thing is not wrong.
It’s just that his name is not James.”
“Oh, I see.”
Instead of asking me why I hid my identity, the Count held my hand warmly.
A guy with good means of communication, I had to comment.
It was when I was shaking my hands with the Count.
I heard a familiar voice and turned my head.
The person who called my name was a woman I knew well.
A cute woman with long black hair tied in two.
A sorceress wearing a large witch hat and holding a large wooden staff in her right hand.
Cloud’s former party member.
It was Eri.
It’s been a long time since I saw her.
At least, it seems like yesterday when she hit Cloud’s ass with a cane to come down to eat.
‘But why is she wearing the same equipments as before?’
Isn’t it time for her to have higher level ones?
I thought about it for a moment and then erased it from my course of thought.
It’s not polite to judge about other’s personal affairs in front of them, especially when we were meeting after a long time.
I smiled and waved my hand.
“Eri, it’s been a while.
How have you been doing?”
Eri’s eyes fluttered.
* * *
The second daughter of Duke Oller, a family with a strong influence in the Kingdom of Prona, born with a promising talent, with great talent for magic.
A proper genius, other’s say that she can learn a magic spell by giving just a single glance at the spellbook.
A girl with a mouth so rough that it can’t be more venomous.
These are the public opinion of her.
But they are all only half right.
It is true that Eri is the second daughter of Duke Oller.
But her mother was just a commoner maid working for the family.
It is true that she has inherited the blood of aristocrats, but only half.
Due to which, she grew up facing all sorts of ridicule and contempt from her brothers and sisters.
It is true that Eri has a talent for magic, but it’s too much of an exaggeration to say that she can learn magic from just a single glance.
All of the things that Eri has achieved today were all result of her hard work and effort.
It’s also true that Eri has a rough mouth.
But it’s not because she’s toxic from heart.
Eri, who has been at the mercy of her family for a long time has developed a sense of delusion of harm, in short she has became sort of paranoid.
The roughness of her mouth is more of a defense mechanism to protect her heart from her paranoid thoughts.
Eri had no true family by her side, neither she thought she will, only magic as her close companion, she had lived up to that point, and she thought she always will.
If it hadn’t been for the King’s orders to come to the palace, her life would have been like that.
When she arrived at the palace, she met a boy without knowing anything about the situation.
Eri is a noble lady, even if only half.
Modest handsomeness won’t even catch her eye.
However, the boy in front of her was in a league of his own.
He was such a handsome man that even she felt her breath taken away for a moment.
She saw him for the first time there.
-Who’s so ignorant, so daring to talk to me, hmph?
But her tongue didn’t soften in the least.
Because of the paranoid thoughts that webbed her mind.
A handsome man like him must be a nobleman.
He’s being friendly to me now, but that’s not going to last long.
If he finds out where I am from, he will laugh at me from inside, even if he doesn’t show it on the outside.
Good things were not meant to happen to her.
So, from the very beginning, she spit out harsh words.
Hoping that he would get away from her on his own, like everybody else.
But the boy wasn’t like that.
He just smiled awkwardly and scratched his head.
-Um… I’m a little clumsy.
By the way, did I do something wrong? If so, I apologize.
I never meant to make you feel bad.
That was Eri and Cloud’s first meeting.
After that, she learned that he was a Hero from the king’s mouth who appeared only a little later.
Together with the fact that she was chosen as the Hero’s companion.
When she heard about it, Eri’s heart swelled with hope.
Her family, until now had not recognized her for any of her achievements.
But what if she contributes greatly towards defeating the Demon King as a member of the Hero’s Party?
Wouldn’t she, with all she was, be then recognized by her indifferent family for such a big achievement?
Eri had such hopes, and she set out on a journey to defeat the Demon King as a companion of the Hero.
The journey was more arduous than she had thought.
It was only natural for her to camp on the hard ground instead of lying on a soft bed, and she was often unable to wash for days.
For her who had lived as a half noble, those were some terrible days.
But only for a while.
Little by little, she began to feel the happiness hidden in it.
As time went on, her close companions took a liking to her.
They recognized and respected her even if Eri did nothing special form any perspective.
Eri felt that comfortable feeling for the first time with her companions.
And it was all thanks to Cloud who was able to make her feel that way.
At the start of the journey.
When even Ophelia or Neria couldn’t get close to her because of her haughty personality, it was Cloud who kept coming to her.
No matter how harsh the words were, he never lost his pure smile.
He didn’t even look upset when she grudgingly hit him on the head with her wooden staff.
He was such a foolishly nice person.
To put it bluntly, he was like a pushover, but because of him, she was able to open her heart to others.
Thanks to which, she was able to calm down her temper, which could pierce right through people’s heart to the point of lightly scratching them.
Years passed like that…
And a feeling of impatience had bloomed in Eri’s chest.
She had only wasted years of time, but she hadn’t grown up in strength.
It’s not that she hadn’t grown up at all, but those didn’t met her standards by any margin.
The reason was simple.
It was because Cloud was weak.
When he was first selected as a Hero, he was just an ordinary boy.
He was a weak boy who had never learned about sword, had no prior knowledge, and had never killed.
Because of this, most of the journey was spent on him growing up mentally.
Eri could only sigh deeply, feeling that she had wasted her golden years.
She hadn’t even noticed it in these years.
Cloud was like a sweet poison.
It’s fun and joyful to be with him, but if you keep staying with him, you will get ruined together someday.
In that way, she would lose the chance of being recognized by her family, that she had been seeking since birth.
As her heart was gnawed by such impatience and fear, Eri met Lorian.
Not as handsome as Cloud, but handsome enough.
The background of the heir to the Kingdom of Carta.
Together with outstanding skills and talent.
Except for his face, he was far superior to Cloud in every way.
Such a man showed his affection for her.
She refused at first.
She spit out harsh words, showed flat disagreement.
But Lorian didn’t give up.
He smiled at her as gently as Cloud, and approached her as patiently as Cloud, meanwhile showing generous affection for her.
Little by little, she began to compare Cloud with Lorian, it eventually got to the point where she ended up ultimately weighing the two of them.
Of course, the scale leaned towards Lorian.
Because every time he showed her a Cloud-like image, she got that certainty.
She felt that confidence, that if she follows him, she will be able to catch both a pleasant journey with a friendly companion, and a happy future.
Eri took Lorian’s hand to have her everything.
As a result—
She lost everything.
“Eri, it’s been a while.
How have you been doing?”
Cloud, whom she had not seen in a long time, welcomed her with a smile that was no different from before.
Eri also tried to greet him with a smile, but she couldn’t.
Because she had long lost her smile.
“Long time no see.”
Barely squeezing out her voice, she lowered her head to avoid Cloud’s gaze.
She hadn’t seen him in a long time, she shouldn’t have greeted him like that….
But, she felt so hollowed that she couldn’t even act to her wishes.
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