Chapter 357 - To Return (1)

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"Will that be fine?"

"Um, it isn't something huge, right?"

"But it seems like that. How can a person not step outside at all? What about food?"

"I see him come out early in the morning and at night."

"Isn't that more of a problem? The people who pass by say that there is a scary sound each time, it seems like…"

"Scary sounds?"

"It seems like the swinging of a sword. The kids must have misheard it."

"Right. My kids were the same."

"I have to tell them to not go, but…"

"Um…"

The village chief frowned at the words of the villagers. The topic of discussion was a blonde young man, a stranger who had visited this place a month back.

Although he was polite, he had a dark expression on his face when he asked for a place to stay. The village chief lent him the house of an old man who had passed away a year ago for free.

'It's a difficult world for everyone.'

These days, wars between kingdoms were endless.

Disputes between the Lords of territories were also frequent and then came the devils taking advantage of the chaos to carry out evil deeds.

Monsters were running rampant everywhere. To ask for remuneration from a traveller who was in such a state and seemed to have a sad story, especially if he was this young, didn't seem right to the village chief.

'I don't know what kind of pain he has in his heart, but I hope he can shake it off and feel good soon.'

That was what the village chief wished for. It was the kind of consideration that an old man who lived for long could give to a young man.

However, this was his opinion alone. Others seemed to have different thoughts.

One woman, who was expressing her concern, spoke again.

"So, is there no way?"

"…to send him away?"

"No, I'm not asking you to send him away… he won't continue to live here, right? We don't even know how long he would stay, but we can't just let him stay like that, right? Honestly, even if he didn't have a place to go to, shouldn't a man pay the rent for a place he has been staying at for over a month?"

"But that home was abandoned… it was a place that was left uncleaned from the start, so why care about…"

"Do you think I am saying this for the money?"

The woman was furious and the woodcutter who heard it went silent.

Her sharp eyes could be seen, and the shoulders shrugged.

The woman took a step back, but she didn't release the angry expression on her face. Rather, she continued to speak, not hesitating to pour out her frustration.

"To be honest, I am nervous… worried. I am not saying this because I am a bad person, no, I am just saying the truth. So, call me a bad one if you want. So, huh? I don't want to let the man who has been through something bad stay here any longer. But, with that, our village will be safe."

"…"

"What would you do if the man is a thief? What if he pretends to be quiet and secretly opens the doors at night, bringing a gang of thieves with him?"

"That, is just too much…"

"Too much? Does everyone learn sorcery? Do you think because they look good on the outside, they are good? It is never that way. No, even if it was a really good person, can you say he isn't dangerous? What if he was being chased by nobles or mercenaries? Would we have to take him into the village and share his punishments? Does that sound right?"

"…"

"…"

"Everyone get yourself together. It made no sense to accept him in the first place."

… there was silent for a moment.

The woodcutter and the village chief. Others who had compassion for the blonde man didn't speak.

What the woman said was right. They didn't know how to refute it.

He could be someone with a hidden objective or he could've been a good person and still be dangerous.

Even if it felt unfairly framed, were they prepared to solve it if something bad happened?

The villagers asked themselves that and they shook their heads.

At first, they thought the young man had problems.

If only they showed compassion, they thought he would show willingness to communicate with them. If not, they expected to see a little sincerity, but the atmosphere had only gotten worse.

"… let's talk a bit more."

But the middle aged man who had been quiet the whole time spoke carefully.

He didn't mean to refute the words of the women. It was the opposite… he hated giving the young man a place to stay in the village from the start.

However, he wanted to hide those feelings. Because he didn't want to be looked upon as a bad person. He wanted to pretend to be considerate of the young man.

Others were having similar thoughts.

Since that was the case, the villagers who attended the meeting slowly but steadily pushed for their opinion to remove the young man.

It was then.

'Let's wait and see.'

A man suddenly appeared, interrupting the meeting.

He had bubbly eyes, a thick beard, and a magnificent physique with large muscles.

Most of the people averted their eyes as they saw the presence. It was someone the village people didn't want to get involved.

Needless to say, it was difficult to deal with a man who worked by hunting. Just talking didn't sit well with them.

Of course, not all of them were like that.

The woman looked at him and asked.

"Wait for what?"

"To boot him out."

"What for wait? It has already been decided."

"Don't decide now. Talk a bit more and then see through it."

"What talks…"

"Here."

The hunter stopped and the atmosphere changed. The woman who was about to say something nasty gulped down what she wanted to say.

The man didn't provoke her either. Instead, he turned to the audience and made eye contact with each of them and said with anger.

"Is there at least one person who hasn't depended on the goodwill of others?"

"…"

"No right? If you are in this village, you have no choice but to depend on others."

At the hunter's heavy voice, everyone looked down.

Right. Now, he wasn't saying that humans were social animals. What he meant was that everyone in this village owed someone something.

He succeeded in recovering food through good will without a price and achieved stability for the village. Because of that the others were able to have hope in the world.

"Then, let me go."

"…."

"The Baron will too."

When the hundred or so people finished speaking, he turned around and he headed to the place where the blonde young man was residing. Memories with the person he admired the most were flashing through his mind.

'If it wasn't for the Lord, what would I have been doing now?'

He might have joined the mercenaries and done a lot of bad things, or he might have joined a group of bandits and become cursed by people.

Maybe he might've turned up dead too. Whatever it was, he wouldn't be as happy as he was now.

That was the reason the hunter went to the young man.

The good intentions lifted him up.

A ray of salvation came down on him. He,who hated the whole world because of the shock of losing his child found new happiness from it.

Even the young man could do it. He would do it. Like the Baron, he wanted to spread his influence and do good deeds in the world.

And that made him feel better and made him go to the young man's house.

He wanted to hear the man's sorrows as soon as possible and share the burden he was carrying. However, the hunter who arrived there couldn't enter.

"…"

It was strange.

The face of the young man he saw as soon as the gate opened was unfamiliar.

Unlike other villages, he had just returned from the hunting ground so he couldn't know the man. And since he had only heard things about it, this was his first time meeting him.

However, the eyes of the other person were strange.

As if he had known the young man for a long time.

No, rather, it felt like he had hostility against him.

It wasn't a guess, but a certain feeling.

A greater fear pressed the hunter down. His emotions became so heavy that his muscles and bones felt like it was being crushed.

"…please go back."

Phew.

After a while, the young man's gaze was lifted. The sight of him closing his eyes slowly made him look lonely and gloomy.

However, the hunter didn't have time to see that. He was already sweating profusely and with all his might he moved away from the young man's house and took a deep breath.

He did his best to calm himself.

'What was it? Why?'

He couldn't understand.

He didn't do anything to make the young man hate him. No, he didn't understand why such a monster would even look at him.

He couldn't help it.

Because he hadn't done anything for the young man to hate him. Because he was living a new life now.

But Airn couldn't help but hate him. Even if it hadn't happened yet, he couldn't forgive that hunter.

It was still clear in his eyes.

The ax he was holding. The incident which had happened.

After learning the truth, he cowardly turned away from his benefactor.

"Gasco Estate."

When Airn realized where he was, he did his best to suppress the emotions within him.


When they set out on a journey to save Ignet, only hatred for the devils was overflowing in Airn's heart.

However, the mindset gradually changed over time. To be precise, the target of the anger changed.

Humans.

Rather than responding to good intentions with good intentions, they all approached him with a terrible heart.

It wasn't just those who had harmed the young boy. As he continued, Airn only saw more horrific things.

A couple who sold their children and enjoyed their life with that money.

Those who valued human life less than even a slice of bread.

People who committed murder for fun.

The world was a lot darker than the hero had thought.

It wasn't natural to be rewarded with good intentions. His past self was the same.

Karen Winker sacrificed his family for the people in the estate, and yet he was betrayed.

None of the people who had once respected him like a father had followed him. They were more scared of losing the fifty years of safety that they had enjoyed.

And that tormented Airn.

It made his anger even hotter and his sadness even more devastating. It felt like all the hard work he had put in the past years was disappearing.

Step step

"…"

In his troubled ears, he heard the sound of someone approaching, Airn looked at the gate.

'Who?'

'The hunter? It couldn't be him.'

'It doesn't matter.'

Right. It didn't matter who it was.

No matter who came from the Gasco estate, they couldn't touch his heart right now. At least that was what he though.

However, the moment he saw his past self, Airn couldn't help but change his mind.

"Karen Winker."

"You know my name? You must have heard it from the villagers."

His former life, who was a lot younger, was looking at him with a soft smile.

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