Chapter 1: Homecoming

I head east along the Imperial Highway that runs through the Adoastera Empire from east to west.

The road, which can be called the main artery of the empire and even the continent, is bustling with people today, and carriages are constantly passing by. I could have hitched a ride on one of them without having to walk all the way, but I chose to walk to Demon Island on my own feet, checking the footsteps of the past as I went west, west along the same road five years ago.

And what I realized was that my memory was surprisingly vague.

I was sure that I had passed through this road when I was banished from Demon Island and entered the Kingdom of Canaria, but strangely enough, I had no recollection of the surroundings. This was also true for the towns and villages along the way. I had no memory of staying at this or that inn, eating this or that meal, or seeing this or that scenery.

――It was obvious when I thought about it.

Five years ago, I was obsessed with looking ahead. I didn’t look back, convincing myself I had no regrets, and I just kept walking, thinking that there was a future I wanted ahead of me.

I had no time to spare for the scenery around me. I didn’t have the money to enjoy the food along the way. There was no way I could create memorable experiences in such a state.

All I remember is a burning impatience.

Every time I heard laughter around me, I felt as though it was directed at me, and I would shrink my shoulders. I had visions of a boy who did that.

If I could, I wanted to tell the boy. The next five years will wear you down to the limit. There is no future you want. You will make many mistakes.

Still, there is something to be gained if you don’t stop walking――I wanted to tell him that.

“Well, I don’t need you to tell me that, since I’m here now anyway.”

I laugh off the sentimentality in me with those words.

I suddenly notice my left wrist and see a bracelet with fine workmanship on it. It was a gift from Suzume and the others when I left Ishka, and they said it was a charm for good health and safety that was passed down by the Kijin tribe.

This too was one of the things I gained by not stopping.

I once again step forward on the ground in front of me. Five years ago, I hurried along the road as if I was running away, as if I was being chased. Now I walk slowly, as if to make sure of the ground under my feet.

My hometown by the northern sea was only a short distance away.


From a distance, Demon Island looks like a butterfly with its wings spread.

The land that forms the eastern and western parts of the island is almost symmetrical, and in the center where they overlap, there is Shuuto, the only city on Demon Island.

The port south of Shuuto served as the island’s only point of contact with the outside world. In truth, it’s scarcely a port, given that no fishing boats or passenger ships make a stop, and only a ferry connecting the island to the continent runs twice a day, leaving it almost devoid of people and activity.

By the way, this ferry always has a guard of Green Woods Warriors. The northern sea that surrounds Demon Island is rough all year round, and many abnormally developed aquatic monsters appear, so without the strength of a Green Woods Warrior class, even traveling would be difficult.

Of course, even if they are warriors, only low-ranking warriors can board the ship, and it is almost impossible for the upper ranks of the Eight Flags to do such a minor role. It’s impossible, or it should be――

“We’ve been waiting for you, Lord Sora.”

It was Gozu Sima who greeted me, his voice heavy yet brimming with an almost bursting joy.

Why are you here, I wondered, but it was a meaningless question. After all, the ticket I had was prepared by the Mitsurugi family.

Crossing to Demon Island requires prior screening; it’s not as simple as just buying a ticket and boarding the ship. The ticket has a specified date, and as mentioned before, the ferry only runs twice a day, morning and afternoon.

There was no way I, who was going to visit my mother’s grave for the first time in five years, would take the later flight, and Goz had seen through me as if he knew when I would show up.

――Well, I could have boarded the Clau Soras and crossed the sea with full Kei, or done something else to catch them off guard, but there was no need to go that far. It would be foolish to waste effort to avoid a welcome that I didn’t even know if they were there or not.

“Thank you for coming to greet me, Lord Sima.”

I spoke politely, respectfully.

I didn’t come here to pick a fight. Unlike when we met in Ishka, I had no reason to attack him right now.

I narrowed my eyes and looked up at Gozu’s face. Then, a puzzled voice came from his mouth.

“…Is there something on my face?”

“No, there is nothing like that. So, can I go to the island? Or has something gone wrong?”

“No, there is no problem. I will guide you to the lord’s presence.”

“I understand. Thank you for your help.”

I said that and bowed to Gozu according to the imperial etiquette.

The Mitsurugi family was a noble family of the Adoastera Empire, and I was a commoner with no rank or position. I was not reinstated, so I had nothing to do with the Mitsurugi family. It was natural to use honorifics and be courteous.

Seeing me like that, Gozu let out a wry smile as if he couldn’t help it.

“You have already defeated three Green Woods warriors and made a rude demand to the lord. There is no need to pretend to be polite now.”

“The lord of the Mitsurugi family responded generously to my rude demand. Then, it is only proper for me to respond with courtesy as well.”

I said that and didn’t change my attitude at all. Rather, I didn’t need to change it. I didn’t want to talk friendly with the person in front of me like before. I didn’t intend to guess why he was happy.

I didn’t care what a stranger thought, and being polite to a stranger was just a common courtesy.

But if I had to give another reason, it was for caution.

They might have invited me here and then tried to kill me for being rude.

The lord and Gozu might not do that, but the Berch family would probably pull such a trick. After all, I had crushed their two adopted children, both in strength and reputation. It was natural for them to hate me.

Speaking of adopted children, I had sent Claira back to Demon Island before I returned home. She didn’t accept the invitation of the Four Flags, and she didn’t give me a chance to take advantage of her while I was in Berka. She prepared for the emergence of mythical creatures in Titis Forest. I had no choice but to let her go.

In the second half, she talked normally with Suzume, Ciel, and Miroslav, and she bowed deeply when I released her. At the end, she looked somewhat sad. I think it was because she couldn’t eat Sarah’s food anymore.

I thought about that as I boarded the ferry and headed to the island.

The sea monsters didn’t attack us, likely deterred by Gozu, who was continuously releasing kei at the bow to intimidate them.

The person who was waiting for me when I landed at the pier without any trouble was the one I used to call my sister – Cecil Sima.

“It’s been a long time, Sora…sama.”

She hesitated for a moment at my name, probably worried about my reaction. That’s because I used to hate being called “young master” or “Sora-sama” by Cecil, and I insisted that she call me “Sora” like a real sister.

That was an unreasonable request in hindsight. She couldn’t call me, the heir, by my name as a servant. But Cecil was kind and called me “Sora” when we were alone.

I remembered the past and bowed my head apologetically.

“Thank you for coming to greet me, Lady Sima. But you don’t have to call me with honorifics, since you are favored by the lord. If you act like that, I will be blamed for it. Please stop.”

I said that and looked up at Cecil, who was silent and confused.

She had let her hair down, which she used to tie up for ease of movement five years ago. Also, her figure had changed from a slender warrior to a more feminine and curvy one.

It was the transformation of someone who had gone from a warrior to a wife, I thought.

I confirmed that and looked away from Cecil, and tried to walk towards the Mitsurugi mansion.

Gozu’s voice burst out behind me as I turned on my heels.

“Sora-sama, could you please exchange a few words with my sister if possible? She has been looking forward to this day for a month since the lord’s decision was made.”


I moved only my head and looked over my shoulder at the siblings.

I deliberately didn’t call their names to show that I didn’t want to distinguish between the brother and sister.

“I didn’t come here to catch up. Besides, it was your lord who summoned me. If we talk here, we will only keep the lord waiting. I don’t think that’s what a servant should want. What do you think?”

Liked it? Take a second to support WordyCrown on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!