Vella ran on the sand, chasing after the fleeing man.
Terrified of Vella's twin swords and out of other options, the man leapt into the sea.
A moment later...
The harsh current pushed the man back to shore.
Never thought you'd see me again, did you, scumbag? Now tell me, where did you kidnap me from?
You... you don't know?
The man seemed taken aback.
He chose his words carefully.
The story went back to when she was a little girl.
Vella was from a town by the sea. She liked visiting the mercenary groups that stayed at the town.
She admired how they lived. They were free, not held down by anything.
One time, one of the youngest mercenaries she'd ever met handed her a rice ball.
I made this for you.
Vella didn't really want to eat it.
Aw, c'mon. It's just a rice ball. Consider it a farewell gift.
In retrospect, she should have listened to her gut.
She would take a small bite to be polite.
But what Vella didn't realize...
... was that one bite was more than enough.
She bit into the rice and fell into a deep slumber.
The man was a member of a group of kidnappers who disguised themselves as mercenaries.
When she woke up in the carriage and realized what had happened...
Vella managed to escape.
But by then, she was already far, far away from home.
By a stroke of luck, she ran into a band of treasure hunters. They let her tag along.
That's when Vella discovered she had an unexpected talent.
She had good instincts, which was crucial for treasure hunters.
When Vella had a hunch about a place, it was bound to be flowing with treasures and artifacts.
So she decided to be a treasure hunter and travel the world.
She figured she'd find her home someday, if she just kept moving.
However... She found countless ruins and artifacts, but she never found her home.
And today, she finally learned why.
After you, uh, left, the mountain bandits ransacked your village and burned it down. There were no survivors.
Ha! You really think I'm going to fall for that?
But it's true! I swear!
They killed every last person, even the other kids we were scoping out.
If you think about it, I saved your life...Please don't kill me!
Vella held the man by the collar.
Then prove it. Take me home.
With the man as her reluctant guide. Vella finally found her way home.
The village of her childhood memories lay in ruins.
Only the sea was the same. Everything else was weathered and gone.
I'll just be going now...
Vella didn't even look in his direction.
She had traveled all this time, searching for her home. And this was all that was left?
She felt a twinge of sorrow, but she also felt oddly free.
What to do now?
The world lay open before her.
She was bored of treasure hunting. Maybe she should pursue her childhood dream of being a mercenary.
Sure, there were scumbag mercenaries who kidnapped children, but that didn't bother her.
She'd just join the best mercenary group out there, then it wouldn't be an issue.
She knew what to do.
She'd trust her gut.