002 – a Loli and Her Master
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September 17, 1998 [1:32pm]

Under the cloudy gray sky, the whispers of the wind blew - almost extinguishing the weak orange flame of The Hero’s cigar.

No, a better title for this middle-aged man would be that of Retired Hero.

His messy black hair and unkept beard were already sporting signs of age. Even he, who had defeated the demon lord, stood no chance against the passage of time. 

Time did not forgive. Time did not forget. 

It sure was not kind to his familiar either.

Having been abandoned to death for almost twenty years, it was to The Hero’s surprise to find her alive.

It was not that he hated her, or held a malicious sentiment towards her. But the norms of modern society were way different from those of the Harem-Loving kingdoms of Arkadia.

Not only that, but the modern world lacked the mana necessary to sustain a familiar, even basic magic spells were a hassle to cast.

As such, it was for the best that Sofia was locked in a magic box, safely stored away in The Hero’s basement.

However, today was different.

“Master, I always knew you and I would be reunited one day. This means so much to me. I feel ashamed for ever doubting you, for a moment my will to live almost faltered.” 

John Fritzer could only imagine how dreadful it could be for someone who is immortal to be locked up for eternity in a dark box the size of an apple.

It made sense to him that Sofia would speak a lot after being released.

“I understand,” He said. Not that it did much to make up for his sins. “Well, now that we are here I want you to scan this alley for traces of magic.”

Just yesterday, the body of a high school girl was found here. The second high school girl to be murdered in an alley this week.

But that is not why John was here.

According to the police report, this particular case has been added to the growing list of The Reaper’s files. However, due to the oddity of this particular case, there is still the possibility that this was the work of someone else.

The victim had perished after receiving an excessive amount of trauma. The one associated with falling from at least fifty floors, however, all the surrounding buildings were no taller than three floors. But despite of all of this, without a reasonable doubt, the victim did fall to her death in this particular alley.

If this was indeed the work of The Reaper, it was still not known how they managed to accomplish such a feat other than by using magic.

“Do you sense anything?” John asked, seeking a quick answer from Sofia. 

No one could detect small traces of magic better than her.

“Master, I could be of much better help if you allow me to spawn.”

That was unthinkable. 

“No, if anyone saw me loitering around in an alley with a red-haired loli, I would end up in jail.”

She looked younger than his own kids. 

“Hmmph, but I am older than you,” Sofia said.

“Have you not seen me? No one would confuse me for your older brother.”

"But they wouldn't be wrong if they called you my daddy."

Despite her playful tone, Sofia invoked a can of worms that John did not wish to open right now.

"Look, if you do a good job, I will give you a rewarded. But do not get any funny ideas, understand?" 

John could almost picture Sofia nodding in agreement.

"Speaking of mana, there is something odd," Sofia said, putting an end to her banter.

John paused for a second before asking his question.

“You found a mana trace?”

“No, but I can sense two mana signatures extremely similar to yours, and one of them is really close by! In fact… THIS ONE IN PARTICULAR IS WAY STRONGER THAN YOURS. MASTER THIS IS TROUBLE!”

This was not particularly surprising to John. There were only two people on the planet who could have a signature similar to his. 

“How much stronger is it?” He asked.

“Twenty times stronger than at your peak! and they are closing on us.”

Little Sofia was panicking, but John was more angrier than scared. Situations like this did not bother him, as he had the skill [Nerves of Steel], but he knew very well the only person that could be behind this particular overpowered aura. 

“It has to be my son. Ever since he was born, I noticed I lost my [Hero] skill. It is extremely likely that it's him.”

“Master had a son, and it wasn’t from my womb!?”

Sofia got hysterical.

“However… that little rascal should still be at school. He is going to get fucked.”

John marched forward, out of the alley, onto the sidewalk. 

“Where is he coming from?” John asked.

Sofia took a bit to reply since she was still having a meltdown over having her ship sink.

“If you keep moving forward, he should be at the cafe down the street.”

Enraged and clouded in judgment, John was ready to start a scene. 

“I haven’t seen master this upset since that one time the adventurer’s guild skimmed us out of a payment.”

Sofia's comment only made it worse. 

"Where is he!? I don’t see him," John asked. He could no longer keep his calm.

“He is coming out of the cafe! Watch out!”

When the door opened, a duo of high school students bumped into John. 

The moment they made eye contact, John could read the "Oh shit" on their lips.

Amber eyes and a long black hair that reached all the way down to her waist. She, without a doubt, was John’s daughter. Next to her stood another problem, a young man with deep red eyes and messy black hair.

“Master, it seems your daughter is with a-”

“SHUT UP,” John yelled in his mind. 

The murder mystery was suspended for the night. Someone was about to get the talk.

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