Who Killed the Hero? Volume 1 Chapter 4 part 1

Ares’ Chapter

The village was neither big nor small, just one of the many hamlets tucked away in the mountains.
It was quite far from the royal capital, taking ten days on horseback to get there. The people made their living by farming the land and living a pastoral life.
Talis Village. It became famous for producing a hero.

“Do I know about Ares? Of course! I was his friend!”
I searched for someone around Ares’ age still living in the village and asked them about Ares.
“Ares could do anything since he was little. He was strong, fast, and smart too. He was also really good looking so all the girls his age had crushes on him,”
As if used to being asked, the man smoothly began talking about Ares.
“He was just amazing. Give him a sword and he’d be better than any adult in no time. He learned healing magic from the priest at the church and could cast spells too after reading the tattered old magic books from the village chief’s home. I should mention that not even the village chief, let alone me, could read what was written in those books. They’re written in some weird special text right? But Ares studied and learned to read that strange writing. Of course he became the hero!”
— So Ares already knew the sword, magic, and miracles of God even when he was in this village?
“Sure. You know too right? The famous hero Ares could use the sword, magic, and healing. That’s why he was chosen as the hero right? Because he was so special.”
— Why would someone so special bother enrolling in Pharme Academy?
“Why?… I guess he had to get in there to be recognized as the hero officially? Or maybe to find companions? I don’t really know. Probably the fortune teller told him to go to the capital?”
— Fortune teller? You mean the prophet?
“Yeah that’s the one. One day he suddenly came to the village and said ‘The hero who will save the world will appear from this village.’ We were all amazed. Ah, it’s definitely got to be Ares we thought. He really was a special person after all.”
The prophet is known for appearing at critical junctures in the world and making pronouncements. Though with an active period spanning over a thousand years, there are doubts over whether it is a person. There are also suggestions it is not the same individual each time.
— Did Ares and the prophet meet directly?
“I’m not sure. That fortune teller disappeared right after coming. He was just strange you know, had this imposing dignified air about him. Anyway a mysterious fella.”
— So after receiving that prophecy, Ares set off for the capital?
“That’s right. That’s how it went. Ares really is amazing huh.”
— Amazing?
“Well it’s peaceful now but back then monsters were raging everywhere. The journey to the capital was dangerous because of that. Trade routes were often cut off too so the village suffered, or so my parents said.”
— So a fourteen year old boy made that perilous journey alone?
“Yeah. Well I guess he thought adults would just get in the way. But for him to make it there alone…he really is incredible.”

I parted ways with the candid villager and headed to Ares’ family home. It belonged to the current village chief. Ares was the son of the current chief and grandson of the chief when Ares had set off on his journey.


“Thank you for coming all this way to our little village. I hear you want to ask about my son, about Ares?”
Having arranged our meeting by letter beforehand, Ares’ mother Shera welcomed me warmly. She looked to be in her early fifties but carried herself gracefully, making me think she must have been a beauty in her youth.

— What kind of child was Ares?
“He was a good boy. Bright from young and didn’t cause me any trouble. He was always eager to help out around the house. Really…a wonderful son.”
Shera spoke slowly as if reminiscing.
— I heard he could do anything?
“Rather than anything, he was dexterous. Though it’s true he was decent with the sword, could cast small miracles, and use magic, it wasn’t anything extraordinary. He stood out since this is just a small village but if he went somewhere with more people I think he’d be evaluated as an exceptionally gifted child at most.”
— Could it be you aren’t originally from this village?
“You’re sharp. I’m from the capital originally, not from this village. I met my husband when we were studying in the capital. We got married and I came with him to live in this village. Actually my husband and I were top students back in the capital, excelling in both studies and sports. So I didn’t think our son was anything that special.”
Shera smiled as if bragging just a little.
— However Ares was chosen as the hero.
“It was puzzling. He was our pride and joy but not to that extent I felt. The villagers were celebrating thinking the prophecy surely referred to Ares but neither I nor my husband believed it.”
— You didn’t believe the prophecy?
“Well…I wouldn’t say we didn’t believe it, rather we didn’t want to believe it was about Ares. Which parent wants their child fighting the demon king after all? More than not believing, we didn’t want to believe I guess.”
— Yet you sent him off as the hero?
“My father–in–law who was village chief at the time was excited about it. The villagers too. They were delighted one of their own would be the hero. The appearance of the demon king had shrouded the world in gloom back then. This village was no exception. Amidst that, the people were overjoyed at the arising of the fabled hero. We couldn’t exactly deny it. So to at least let Ares gain more strength and find companions to journey with him, we sent him off to Pharme Academy.”
— Sending him to Pharme Academy was your decision?
“My husband’s and mine. We knew Pharme Academy trained heroes. However it was also an academy exclusively for nobles. I said there was no need to force entry. Gaining strength and finding comrades were the objectives so anywhere that could fulfil those aims would have been fine I thought. Ares was flexible so I believed he would handle it well if we explained it like that but in the end he entered Pharme Academy it seems.”
— What did Ares himself think about being chosen as hero?
“He was a bright boy so he played the part to match the villagers’ moods I believe. But deep down he must have been anxious. More than anyone, he was aware he wasn’t that outstanding. Sometimes when I woke up at night, I saw him outside swinging his sword absentmindedly. He was so anxious he couldn’t even sleep I think.”
— Yet he defeated the demon king.
“And then he died too. We should be happy the world was saved but neither I nor my husband can be truly glad. Why did our son have to die? I still think that. There must have been so many other qualified people yet why did it have to be him…”
Shera wiped away the tears trailing down her cheek.
I glanced away from her and around the room. My eyes fell upon a sword decoratively displayed. It was beautifully maintained but showed extensive wear.
— Is that…?
“It’s his sword. Only the sword made it back. This sword has been passed down in our family for generations. Though we don’t know its origins, it must have been a fine blade to accompany him to the end. Its return is our sole comfort. He didn’t leave anything else behind.”
— Ares’ companions brought back the sword?
“I never met any of the people who journeyed with Ares. Zack was the one who brought it.”
— Zack?
“Ares’ cousin of the same age. My husband’s sister’s son but both his parents were adventurers. His father came from the Maliqa Kingdom and when the Maliqa Kingdom was invaded by the demon king, his parents went to render aid but lost their lives in that battle. Zack was left in our care before his parents departed.”
— How did Zack come to return with the sword?
“Because Ares went with Zack to the capital. After Ares died Zack told us that he received the sword from someone there. So he brought it back to our village.
— It’s said Ares journeyed alone?
“Well there was luggage and such so we couldn’t really send him completely alone. Besides those two were raised together so they got along very well. I’m sure having Zack there put Ares a little more at ease setting off.
The villagers exaggerate Ares’ exploits so they don’t mention Zack. Or maybe they truly forgot about him. He wasn’t a very noticeable child.”
— Where is Zack now?
“After coming here, he said he would ‘leave on a journey right away’ and that’s the last I’ve heard. I suggested that he should settle down in this village, but he firmly refused. He said, ‘I’m sorry, I let Ares die, I’m so sorry.’ Even though he has nothing to apologize for…”
Did Zack travel with Ares?
“He was just accompanying him to the capital city. Ares is just an ordinary kid, so he couldn’t go on a journey to fight the Demon Lord and all that. He was a hardworking boy and tried his best at everything, but he was a bit clumsy. But he’s a really good kid. I think Ares was able to learn many things because Zack was with him. When Ares started something, Zack would stick with it to the end. Do you know how hard it is to keep learning on your own? Having a friend who does it with you makes it possible.”
What do you think about the images of heroes that are spread throughout the world?
“They really resemble that child. We even bought a large painting of a hero and hung it up in our home.”
Indeed, there was a large painting of a hero with a striking presence displayed prominently in this house.
— Did Ares and Zack resemble each other?
“They looked quite alike as cousins tend to. But Ares’ eyes were a little bigger and his nose higher. Subtle differences but they really changed the impression. Ares’ looks were often praised but Zack was said to be nondescript. Strange that such minor differences could make such an impact.”

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One thought on “Who Killed the Hero? Volume 1 Chapter 4 part 1”

  1. Ok, figured out how it works now, Ares died somewhere between their journey and before they entered the academy, Zack took over
    Thats why he had to learn magic and recovery and why he insisted on changing the painting

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