When we returned to Gartmar, there was a large crowd of people, waiting to welcome us. As it was nearing the end of the month, all the locals from the nearby coal villages had arrived to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the market. Now however, they were out on the street, waiting to welcome their savior which had solved their greatest problem, the Goblin King.
”Our city officials, guild masters and citizens all welcome our hero, Gaspard!”
The streets were teeming with people, eager to get a look at the hero. The city bureaucrats were standing respectfully, joined by the guilds which were led by the Adventurer’s guild standing in front.
“Ugh… this feels troublesome, why are there so many people gathered?”
“Gaspard, it’s easy, just give them a small wave.”
Tyr came over and gave me some wise counsel.
Although I had simply waved my hand, the crowd erupted into a cheer. We enjoyed a warm welcome as we were escorted towards the Adventurer’s guild, like a conquering General that had returned home.
“Please accept this certificate, if you visit the Temple and show them this, you can upgrade your rank.
The clerk in the Guild bowed deeply and thanked me for my great deeds.
“Well… it was just a Quest.”
“No, my family lived in one of the coal mining villages that suffered at the hands of the Goblin King. After defeating the noble’s army, none would dare find trouble for him and his reign of terror spread. Also, people were considering joining the Elves’ Quest, so our city was truly concerned. The reward amount didn’t match the difficulty of the quest, so none would accept it. If it had not been for you, sir Gaspard, many more would have died. Please accept this small gratitude.”
After rejecting her many times I finally caved and accepted.
“Gaspard, I don’t even care about the prize money, next time if there is another opportunity, let’s adventure together once more.”
“Yes I had forgotten the reason I had become an adventurer. But having felt all the cheering from those crowds, I regained my motivation. Don’t forget about us for the next quest, you’re our Captain!”
I repeated the title.
“We’ve decided to call you Captain Gaspard!”
“Yes! The Captain!”
“Call us anytime, regardless of how much gold, we’ll show up!”
“I don’t mind losing a leg if it’s for the Captain!”
The Adventurers who had joined me were bathing in the ecstasy of the Town’s warm welcome.
“Please say a word to the men.”
Kishande came over and whispered in my ear with a small wink.
‘Should I make speech?’
“Okay well, we might be stupid, but we’re less stupid than that Goblin King, we’ve won and survived!”
Everyone was shouting within the Guild hall.
“I’ll invite you to dinner tonight, let’s eat together…”
“No! We’ll invite you!”
“Yes, let’s, didn’t we just receive a large sum from the Guild.”
That was a lie, their reward was only 50 silvers per person, it was barely more than a regular quest.
“Sorry to disturb you all but the Merchant’s Union has already prepared a banquet for you all this evening, our treat of course.”
A well dressed man in rich, colorful clothes led us towards the banquet.
“Cheers to the heroes of the people!”
Not only the merchants, but also many from the crowd joined in on the festivities. A large pagoda was erected in the center of the plaza, and all of us who had participated in the punitive expedition were treated as VIP’s, sitting at the center of it all.
“Gaspard we’ve become true heroes”
Kishande spoke to me in a low voice, appearing uncomfortable.
“No choice so we might as well enjoy it.”
I laughed awkwardly. Miranda and Ashe who were sitting nearby also couldn’t control their awkward smiles.
“You three women should stand proudly, I don’t know how we could have achieved victory if you had not joined us!”
Tyr laughed loudly, praising the girls. Although all three blushed deeply, they also straightened their backs and opened up their shoulders.
Tyr was right, they had indeed been there to help me at the most crucial moment. Maybe because we had a lot of experience hunting together, but they were always able to gauge the right timing. I was certainly glad that I hadn’t followed through with my original plan to leave them behind, because in the end they had played an important role.
The pagoda had been built upon a podium, and when the mayor stood up to give a speech, the plaza quieted down seeing that he was raising his arms.
“As you know, Gartmar is quite a secluded city, and we had to self-govern ourselves most of the time, but we do pay allegiance to our kingdom. However, with the arrival of the Goblin King, I had to ask on 5 separate occasions before the kingdom’s troops reluctantly came to eliminate this spawn of evil, but it was all in vain. We had to support their expedition with food and gold, completely emptying our treasuries but they still failed!”
Several boo’s rang out throughout the crowd.
That’s right! They failed to catch the Goblins and our villages were lost!”
The emotions in the plaza were boiling, and the guards were nervously moving in.
“Quiet! Quiet! This is no place to throw around criticism so calm down!”
The shouting gradually faded and the mayor continued his speech.
“I mean are they our Kingdom or Bandits… Oh dear, did I just say that out loud?”
The previous serious atmosphere had become far more lighthearted with a simple joke.
“I might be suffering from a slight dementia, but I’ll try to continue. We tried asking the Elves for help but, well we all know the result of that. They didn’t bother coming to our rescue and 36 villages or rather 2000 souls, men, women and children all became Goblin food. These were my people, my friends and family, so I was so desperate that I even considered asking a neighboring country’s army to interfere.”
The crowd was now completely sober. After all, the idea of mobilizing a neighboring country’s army was equivalent to rebelling.
“Oh what to do, another slip up, what should I say….”
Ha ha ha ha!
Every single person in the plaza burst with laughter at the old mayor’s humor.
“But then came a brave foreign adventurer. First, he beat up those cowards that were trying to ride the coattails of the Elven expedition. He then proceeded to gather like minded, brave men and succeeded in slaying the Goblin King!”
I had officially been cemented as the Hero.
“Despite them setting out, the odds were against them, I felt torn by the uncertainty of their success. Why you ask? The cursed Goblins ruined my hometown and killed my uncle, and nephews and my lovely…. ”
The market was silent, understanding the mayor’s emotions.
“Sniff, sorry I have something in my throat…”
People began balling their eyes out throughout the plaza
“Cheers for the mayor!”
Steeling his will, the mayor pulls through and continues his speech.
Here, today, the wine we toast is filled with tears for our loved ones that have lost their lives to this evil. And the bread we serve is our heart which will never again be quite whole. As we live, we will always tell the story of you brave adventurers who’ve liberated us from this tyranny, for generations to come. This is my promise to you, as a representative of my people!”
“Cheers! To the heroes!”
The mayor walked down from the podium and shook my hand vigorously.
“Do you have a few words you would like to say?”
The teary eyes of the citizens in the market were already worth more than a hundred words. Still, I nodded and stepped onto the podium, grabbing a magical speaker to enhance my voice.
“I’m embarrassed to say that I never sought this kind of attention or admiration. The Goblin quest had simply piqued my interest as an adventurer and I received a lot of help from my comrades.”
I took a small pause, looking at the crowd before me.
“After listening to what your mayor had to say, I realised how impactful my actions were, but I still don’t believe I deserve such gratitude.”
I heard some whistling and people crying out in encouragement.
“ These unnecessary thoughts aside, your love and encouragements have truly moved my heart, so in the future, if Gartmar were to ever suffer from a similar situation. Please call me, and I would gladly lend a helping hand, regardless of rewards or pay!”
One after another, the people were expressing their support for me, chanting my name. I decided to wrap up my speech.
“This is my solemn promise to you!”
“Long live the hero of Gartmar!”
[Acquired ｟Title: Gartmar’s Warrior｠]
My new title appeared before me as I stepped down from the podium and was swallowed up by the crowd.
The banquet started soon after, but I was stuck meeting and receiving the thanks of all the citizens.
‘I’d rather fight monsters than face a sea of lunatic fans.’
It was only past midnight that the crowd started to disperse whereas the banquet continued well into the morning. With the rising sun it was common to see people passed out here and there along the streets, as if the city had suffered from a zombie attack.
In my case, even if I drank a lot I would sober up very quickly. I carried the women up to their rooms at the Inn, before walking back down to relax in the main hall.
“Huh, It was more tiring than the Quest”
A cloaked man opened the squeaking door and approached me.
“What is a priest like you doing over here?”
It was was the High priest Rohan, that had just walked in. It was certainly unusual to see such a senior priest away from the Temple, and at an Inn of all places.
“Are you busy at the moment?”
“Not at all, please have a seat.”
The priest Rohan had sneaked out at dawn to visit me. He knew that if others at the Temple had known about this, it would have possibly caused a big commotion.
“I came because I have a favor to ask of you?”
“Sure, what is it?”
The priest Rohan stared deeply into my eyes before beginning.