That night, Ruth went to bed earlier than usual in anticipation of the trip. Tomorrow morning, he’ll be busy in the kitchen fulfilling Alec’s request for a home-made bento.
Because Alec was an orphan, he did not normally voice out his desires. Compared to other children, who are overly dependent on adults, Alec is used to be left on his own devices. Ruth, who had his parents and a home, could never behave like that. As a result, if Alec ever selfishly express his wishes, Ruth would do anything within his abilities to attend to it. He doesn’t dislike being relied on by Alec.
But when Ruth closed his eyes, not even a second passed before it became noisy outside.
(What is going on…?)
When Ruth stealthily opened up the windows and peeked outside towards the pitch-dark village square, he saw the villagers carrying torches while restlessly wandering around as if they were searching for someone.
(If a demon appeared, then there would be way more of a fuss; just what happened then?)
Because the village is located in the mountains, it’s likely for demons to appear. But when that happens, there would be a huge commotion and Ruth would be immediately woken up by his father to attend a village gathering. Thus, despite the strange situation outside, he knew that the village’s safety was not being threatened.
Seeing the people outside, if one were to look closely, it doesn’t seem to be just villagers. Looking at their faces, they resemble the men who came to the inn this evening to reserve a room.
Ruth was thinking about that while looking out the window when suddenly a face appeared right in front of him.
"Wah ...wait, Alec?"
The one who suddenly appeared outside of his window was none other than Alec. He was all properly dressed and geared up as if he was going to go out hunting any minute now.
"...Sorry, Ruth. Can you let me in?"
Alec, who had none of his usual composure and worn himself out somewhere, looked up at Ruth as if he was begging for help. When he saw a dark shadow lingering in Alec's eyes, Ruth became uneasy.
"...Yeah, okay. Hurry and come in."
Ruth, sensing that something was wrong based on Alec’s odd behavior and the strange atmosphere in the village square, quickly let Alec in without any hesitation. He can’t possibly leave Alec in the state he’s in right now.
After confirming that Alec has taken a seat on his bed after coming in through the window, he quietly closed the windows and pulled the curtains. After moving the bedside lamp away from the window and locking the door, Ruth approached the absent-minded Alec.
"What wrong, Alec? Did something happen?"
Alec's expression looked like that of a lost child’s.
If anything, this is unusual for the usual calm and level headed Alec. On top of that, Alec ends up hesitating and clamping up whenever he tries to say anything. Ruth grew increasingly more uneasy seeing Alec in that state.
"Could it be that someone did something to you? Like a guy who knows of your powers and threatening you to do things you don't want to do?"
"Alec, try to talk to me. I know I might not be reliable but, when you're troubled, I want to lend you my strength."
Alec, who was shaking from fear, twisted his face at Ruth’s words. He was shaking as if he was going to cry any minute now and while overwhelmed with emotion, he grabbed Ruth’s arm.
"Ruth...I, I… don't want to be a hero…!"
Saying that Alec buried his face in Ruth’s shoulder. At that moment, he circled his arms around Ruth’s back, pulling them into a hugging position.
“I’m already satisfied if I can continue hunting in this village, picking fruits from the trees, and spending my time laughing together with you. Despite that, having to be a hero to depart on a journey to save others… leaving the village to go to the royal capital…! I hate it. I don’t want to leave the village. I want to be with you.”
While letting out a voice mixed with tears, Alec tightly hugged Ruth and pressed his head against Ruth as if he was confirming his presence. Ruth felt ticklish when Alec’s slightly rough golden hair brushed against his cheeks.
Alec’s behavior towards his same-sex childhood friend may be considered to be quite odd. But Ruth didn’t mind it.
(Huh...Hero…Is he talking about being that 'Hero'!?)
When Ruth heard 'Hero', he was reminded of the protagonist from a game he saw in his previous life. He departs on a journey to defeat the demon king and the source of evil, unfolding a life-and-death adventure together with his comrades. Even while his life is occasionally threatened, the hero always brings peace to the world in the end.
Because it’s possible to use magic and swords in this world, there’s definitely way more “fantasy” aspects in this world in comparison to Ruth’s previous world. However, he never thought that a hero would actually exist in reality. Despite that, considering Alec and the chaos outside, he didn’t think it was made up or a lie. Since people from the royal capital even came all the way here, there surely must be a 'Hero' like existence in this world.
(Alec, being a hero? ...But in that case… Ah, but also…)
Just as Ruth was about to think that there was no way that his childhood friend was a hero-- he immediately changed his mind.
MARY: Heya! Sorry for the wait but I've been pretty busy ;w; Thank you for waiting and hope you enjoy! Slowly it's getting more interesting... ^_^)/