It had been a year since he had seen the village chief, who looked much older than before.
His waist was broken, his wrinkles had increased, and he had lost a lot of weight.
"Where have you been all this time...?"
The village mayor comes running up to me with a worried look on his face.
I could tell he had been thinking a lot about me.
"Well, a lot has happened..."
In fact, I wanted to tell him everything that had happened so far, but I couldn't do it.
If the story got out that the Demon Lord and the Dragon Lord, who were supposedly dead, were still alive, there would be a huge uproar throughout the entire world.
Testarossa said that if the fact that the two lords were still alive became known, it might even provoke a war between the demon and dragon tribes to only free each race's own lord. If so, it would be a battle involving humans and beastmen as well.
It is something that Lucious, Testarossa and Rio want to avoid. So Lucius must solve this problem by himself.
"Well, I'm glad that you are well. Come with me, I'll fix you something hot to drink. Let's go to my house."
The village chief said so with a kind face.
The kindness stings Lucius' vulnerable heart.
I would like to accept his invitation, but if I do, then I won't want to leave this place, and the chief won't want Lucius to leave either. Therefore, I have to refuse the invitation.
"I'm sorry, chief, but I have to go."
"Go...? Where will you go? It will be hard for you to leave this place alone, you won't even be able to get to the next village."
The village mayor said with a worried look.
It's natural to think so, because Lucius was weak in the past.
"I will be fine. I've gotten stronger."
As he said that, Lucius formed a large fireball in the palm of his hand.
The village chief, who knew that he could not produce even a small fire, was very astonished to see it and said; "Aaah...!" In fact, he could use even more amazing magic, but Lucius decided not to do so because it might stop the village chief's heart.
"Thank you for worrying about me, but there's something I need to do... So, I'll have to continue my journey. Thank you for all you have done for me."
I bowed my head to the village chief, and when I raised it, I saw him with a calm face, his concern had vanished.
"I don't know what happened to you, but I won't force you to tell me either. But now that I've seen it with my own eyes, I know that you have become stronger. If you say you must go, then so be it, I'm not going to stop you. Fulfill your journey, this old man will be waiting for you as long as possible."
Fighting the urge to cry, Lucious walked past the village chief. In his hand were two flowers, the same kind that had been placed on his parents' graves. Perhaps the village mayor had taken care of the grave in his absence. Lucius couldn't thank him enough.
"Be careful when you leave town. There have been a lot of ferocious monsters lately."
"....I will, thank you."
With those words, Lucius left the village.
"I Found you!"
Just as Lucius was about to leave the village, a familiar voice echoed behind him.
It was the voice from a past he didn't want to remember.
He would have preferred not to see her again. But there was no other choice. Lucius turned around and answered the owner of the voice to put an end to his past.
"It's been a long time... Elena."
My worst childhood friend has grown up, and was now even more beautiful than the last time I saw her.
But her personality was still as bad as ever. She was looking at Lucius with her arms crossed in an intimidating way.
Apparently, she was still as bad as before.
"I was so worried about you since you disappeared. It's been almost a year since I last saw you. But since you're here again, that must mean you've come back to get back together with me, right? If those are your intentions... I'd have to tear you to pieces as punishment for betraying me, but... Since I'm such a kind person, I'll forgive you this time."
The rude and highly superior demeanor Elena conveyed made Lucius recall his ugly past.
1 year ago, he would have given in to that attitude before, but not now. Now that he has become a very strong person, and met two very kind and far more beautiful women than Elena, he won't be a toy ever again.
"You're kidding, right? Don't be silly. I've been putting up with your tyranny for many years. I shudder at the thought of having been with a woman as violent as you who doesn't know what love and compassion are."
Elena is surprised at Lucius' behavior and frowns.
Seeing her disgusted face, Lucious can't help but laugh."
"How dare you stand up to me!!! I won't forgive you...! Looks like you need to be taught a lesson!!!"
Saying those words, Elena throws a punch. The old Lucious wouldn't have been able to react to a blow like that, but now things were different.
Lucious builds up his Qigong in his left hand, and catches the fist without a flinch.
"Ugh! It's...not...possible. How could you even be able to stop my attack!?"
"It's extremely sad that you only see yourself, isn't it, Elena? You don't even think about the possibility that others might get stronger."
"Shut up!!! Lucious should just listen to what I say!!!"
Elena, even more enraged, continued to launch attacks towards Lucious.
They were very predictable attacks, which even Lucious was able to dodge with his eyes closed.
"Impossible, why won't my attacks land!?"
Elena was surprised.
It was a natural reaction, since she thought Lucius hadn't changed during all these years.
But she was wrong. Lucius' strength had not only increased, but his mind had been trained by his masters to be much stronger.
In the past when Elena teased him, he would get very angry, but now he only felt sorry for her.
I had already lost the desire to get revenge on my pathetic childhood friend, but.. In order for me to bury my old self, I must defeat her first.
As Elena hesitated whether to launch her next attack, Lucius approached her in an instant, throwing a front kick to her helpless belly with all the bitterness he had felt.
"Qigong art, 3rd offensive technique, Shiranui!!!"
The high speed attack that Lucius used on Elena was something he learned from Rio. It's a technique so fast that it causes friction and the result is your legs going up in flames. There was no way arrogant little Elena could dodge such an attack.
Elena them received the attack, letting out a pained "Uaagh!" on impact, then fell to her knees and collapsed on the ground, at the same time sobbing silently.
The impact of the kick would have hit the internal organs, even if it was moderate. She should not be able to move for a short period of time.
"I have to go, Elena. From now on, I hope you won't keep bothering other people. Goodbye."
With those words, Lucious left town as Elena trailed behind him, meekly crawling on the ground, watching him walk away.
"Lucius... I will definitely make you mine..."
But Elena's words failed to reach Lucious' ears.
As Lucius left the village, he remembered the question he'd asked Demon Lord Testarossa before.
"What is the first thing I should do when I get out of the infinite prison?"
"First of all, you have to gather information about the hero who sealed us. The only way to break this seal is to be the hero."
"But, the hero is a human, right? If so, he's already dead, so how can I find out?"
When Lucius asked this, Testarossa thought a bit and then spoke.
"If you are a hero, you must take steps to insure that your blood won't disappear. So there must be descendants of the hero somewhere."
"I see... So I should look for the hero's descendants first! Tess Onee-chan, you're very smart!"
"Fufu, well, if you have questions again, ask your Onee-chan. Of course I mean me, not Rio!"
And that was the end of the conversation.
The first thing I have to do is to look for the descendants of the hero Oger. But Lucius is a boy who grew up in a village in the middle of nowhere, so he didn't know the whereabouts of said descendants. As such, he thought of a possible place to get that information.
"Hmm, when it comes to this kind of thing... I think the kingdom is the right place."
The Kingdom of Exadle is about three days away from the village by carriage.
Lucius has never been there, only knowing about it through stories he had been told.
Convinced that the hero's descendants must be in there, Lucius declared; "All right! Let's get going!" and started running.
And so began the first step of Lucius Vardy's great adventure.