-Sorry, but you do not possess the necessary qualities to become a hero, you have to go.
-I see…I understand; I will leave before sun rise don’t worry.
Avian replied, his voice extremely calm and composed, just like his cold expression as he wasn’t bothered at all about what he had just heard or the fact that he was basically being kicked out with no place to go.
Any normal person in Avian’s situation would be fuming by now from the inside or shouting profanities, but Avian didn’t, the reason being he was more than aware of his surroundings and knew that no amount of protesting would help him.
In fact, Avian was glad that the king wasn’t going to discreetly get rid of him behind the scenes, he was very much relieved that he was allowed to go scot-free, and most importantly Avian valued his freedom more than the prospect of becoming a so called “Hero” like the others who were transported with him on that fateful day a year ago.
It all began when Avian got an email informing him of a class reunion hosted by his high school which he graduated from 20 years ago.
Originally not thinking much of it and not intending on going having more important things to do, Avian ignored the message while immersing himself in his work which was the current business venture he was invested in.
One of many business ventures for that matter, at the age of 38 Avian had gone through a lot to get to the place where he was, starting out as a poverty stricken young boy with a single mother out in the streets, Avian had made a complete turnaround as an adult becoming a very influential businessman through hard work and perseverance and most importantly his cunning wits.
Remembering his high school days Avian had only brief recollections all of which that weren’t very pleasant to boot because of his poor background at the time, kids that age were more than a bit cruel after all which is why Avian had suffered more than his share of bullying and isolation.
Though he never took that very seriously and neither did he put his mind into such petty actions of those kids, when he was young Avian was just as ambitious as he was now, his voracious desire to leave behind poverty and make something out of himself to help him and his poor mother were his driving force to trudge through every challenge that was on his way, the only actions he ever committed in his high school years was when he needed to protect his interests or swallow the interests of others, meaningless things such as romance, friendship or grudges had no place in his life which is why his memories were so few when he tried to recollect them.
But there was one thing he kept in the back of his mind unconsciously when he tried to remember his high school days, a brief memory of what it meant to be in his youth, a woman in particular who he thought of when he was younger and still naive.
Her name was Ashley, not a student but a teacher who taught his math classes, Avian remembered that he was particularly fond of her, not because she was pretty or because of any other superficial reason, but because she actively helped him a lot when he was trying to choose a good University with a good financing program back when he was counting every penny, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that if it wasn’t for her Avian wouldn’t have gotten into his University in the first place with the excellent financing plan that he had and gotten to where he was today, basically he was very indebted to her and when he asked her why she was doing so much for him at the time, he distinctively remembered her answer.
-Well, I like students like you who understand their situation and try to do everything in their power to change it, when I was your age I also used to be like this and at the time I also had a teacher who did the same for me, I guess now I am just trying to give back what I was given all those years ago.
Her answer at the time struck Avian as strange, he never was shown as much generosity from anyone without reason as he had been by this teacher, though in the end he still didn’t think much of it and simply took advantage of her help without much of a second word before leaving without saying goodbye or even remembering her ever again.
In retrospect it was a cold-hearted and cruel thing to do, but not strange at all when it came to Avian.
Having now grown older and more experienced Avian understood the amount of help he was given, having made it a principle to repay his debt whenever he could for his own good, made Avian decide to go back after all and repay the teacher with whatever he could.
This being the impetus to the whole incident he gotten himself into, he drove back to his old hometown where his high school was, after becoming successful Avian had taken his mother and moved to a far more hospitable place then the dainty little town he spent most of life in and struggled with.
Returning back to that place made Avian feel nothing even though he thought he would feel something, seeing all his past classmates who were just as ordinary and forgettable as always didn’t stir any emotions either as they looked at each other with one side recognizing him and being surprised by how successful he had gotten and him not remembering them at all as he never once thought about them as they talked nonsense in the gathering to pass time, as they talked with him Avian instantly had become the vocal point of the gathering, having shown up in an expensive suit with a golden watch he was gifted in one of his endeavors, everyone could tell how big he had gotten compared to everyone else who sported cheap suits, old accessories and even slightly reeked of alcohol seemingly depressed as their lives hadn’t turned out the way they imagined after 20 years while seeing others who were less fortunate than them rose and above.
It made Avian wonder why the school even organized this gathering at all when it inevitably would cause people to compare each other or be the cause for arguments, but he played it cool, having extensive human interaction and social skill even back in his high school days he skillfully lead the conversation in its entirety to make everyone play to his tune, the men knew that they weren’t his match so they backed off while the women who were single at the time quickly gathered trying to make a connection with him causing an extreme change from the situation 20 years ago as the image had completely reversed from how it had been in the past.
Avian was still indifferent to all of that, having completely forgotten about his past to focus on the present and the future, the only reason he came back was because of one aspect of his past he couldn’t entirely forget which was his teacher Ashley.
She too was still a teacher in that school, but Avian couldn’t find her until the gathering had finally officially started and he saw her on the podium with all the other teachers who he barely could remember, most of them were new which Avian could tell because of how his teacher Ashley had aged as she had been only 24 when she was his teacher in high school now being 44.
Avian decided that he would quickly get this over with and go talk to his teacher, but the moment the past principal was about to make the opening statement something shocking occurred.
-Huh? What is this light?
-Look! There is a huge drawing on the ground!?
-It looks like a circle…is this part of the show? Why is it getting brighter!?
A gigantic circle with strange symbols suddenly appeared underneath everyone’s feet, having no idea what it was and thinking it was part of the show everyone stood still, it was only Avian who thought that there was something strange going on, but before he could even react, the circle had already finished its purpose, invoking a bright flash of light turning the whole world white for everyone as they all disappeared from the face of the planet.
The next thing Avian knew, he opened his eyes in a completely unfamiliar place, surrounded by what looked like medieval soldiers with halberds and armor and equally medieval looking nobles coupled with a cliche king to complete the set who raised his hands at everyone before announcing.
-Welcome Heroes from another world, I know you all have many questions for being here, and know that they will be answered, but hear me out please, as the reason you were all called here today is because our world is facing a great threat a great evil that threatens the life of all of us if we can’t stop it, you are all vital to stop this evil, because without your help we may all face extinction.
The king’s words immediately pulled the attention of everyone as no one made a beep the moment he spoke and just like that they were transported to another world to become heroes to fight against the demons who were said to want to exterminate all other races.
Everyone including Avian were obviously confused, but Avian was the first to notice something strange with his body as his point of view had significantly grown shorter for some reason, it made him momentarily look at his hands in which he instantly noticed the lack of calluses on his palms which were made through constant hard work, instead what he was looking at were clean palms with only very little bruising.
He felt so weirded out that he instantly looked at everyone else who was beside him, immediately understanding what was going on as he saw that he was surrounded by kids who looked between the ages of 13 to 15, their appearances were familiar as well as he quickly concluding these were all his past classmates he had just been talking to a few seconds ago, immediately cluing him into what happened to him and how he probably looked like.
But this wasn’t the end, their age wasn’t the only thing that was reverted, because as soon as things calmed down and everyone had space to think chaos ensued.
-Who…who are you people!?
-Where is mom and dad!?
As it turned out the circle had done more than just made them younger, it directly messed with their minds as well directly turning them back to when they were 14 years old in mind and body.
The only thing was, as Avian was looking around him observing the antics of his degenerated past classmates and his past teachers with visible confusion, he realized that only his mind was the one that wasn’t messed with for some reason.
He had gotten younger but his mind stayed the same.
Avian briefly considered the implications of what this could mean, but as he was thinking about it he quickly discovered some people gauging him from a distance noticing his quiet and not so confused state which should have been the opposite.
Not fully understand what was happening but feeling like he needed to do something because of those threatening gazes Avian quickly acted along with the group as he forced himself into a ball before acting like he was scared and shaking.
The threatening gazes soon disappeared after, making Avian understand that he likely couldn’t tell anyone of his peculiar state, he wouldn’t dare imagine what would happen to him if they knew he still had his memories intact, before he could do anything Avian needed more information, because without information he had no way to influence his surroundings which is why he instantly decided to lay low as the soldiers quickly acted up soon after the king gave out his orders.
Strangely enough that time he spoke, his words were completely incomprehensible by Avian as if he was speaking in another language. This was the first time Avian became aware of the mysterious ways of this world which was different from his.
This world had something his own modern one didn’t have.
It possessed an aspect called magic.
With his past younger body on him and put into a completely unfamiliar place, Avian for the first time felt weak just like he did decades ago when he was still a nobody still trying to make it in the wide and cruel world, he hated this weakness as if he was bare for the whole world to see, but compared to the past where he could only endure it, this time his mind was clearer and tougher, more experienced.
Weakness which plagued his nightmares had no effect on him and instead reminded him to work even harder instead, Avian was determined to make it out of this.