No matter how far he travelled, he always knew he was home when he heard their calls.
“What did you get?”
The children in the neighbourhood left their waiting place and swarmed around him. He slowed his pace, dodging around the nudging through the little bodies with careful strength.
“That depends. Did you finish your chores today?” he teased.
Excited eyes looked out from naive faces, completely lacking the fear and distrust he usually saw from the other cities. To them, he wasn’t a monstrous adventurer. He was just a ‘big brother who travelled a lot and gave interesting goodies’.
“Let me drop off some items and we’ll see what’s left,” he said.
As an adventurer, he travelled further than anyone else, risking his life and more on the journey, but also encountered more breathtaking treasures than most people would ever see in their lifetime. Many adventurers only kept what was valuable, preferring to discard the more common items dropped by the creatures they defeated. He would never do that, not while he could still remember the awe faces of his neighbours at even the ‘junk items’ his fellow adventurers scoffed at.
If asked, his most important equipment wasn’t his weapons that cut down his obstacles, or the armour that protected his life, but the adventurer’s pack strapped on his back. Even though it had the shape and weight of a typical backpack, he could fit enough things to fill a whole room in it. Its capacity wasn’t limitless, but it was at least enough for him to bring some souvenirs home.
Like quacklings, the children followed him around the neighbourhood, peering curiously over his arms as he reached into his pack, again and again. Ten <<Brobat Wing Tips>> for the artist, twenty <<Lalafly Venom Sacs>> for the potion master, five <<Thabear Fur Coats>> for the tailor…
Finally, he delivered everything his neighbours had requested. He settled at the front porch of his house and reached into his pack once more.
<<Lumin Shard>>, <<Orina’s Teardrop>>, <<Orb of Micarin>>, <<Firia Tree Sap>>, <<Amber Of A Song>>.
He laid the shiny trinkets before the children.
“Take your pick.”
He smiled as the children deliberated their options. gauging the items not by functional or market value but how they fit into the children’s carefully curated collection.
On his adventures, he had seen creatures larger than their village square, rivers that spun in the air, trees that carried mountains and more. But it was only back home, watching his neighbours treasure even the small things, that he truly realise the value of the amazing sights he saw so frequently.
Truly, coming home was always worth the trip.