“Just now, what did you say?”
“Are you having memory problems? Don’t make me say it twice.”
Andal hated being asked the same question twice. He crumpled his face and let out his frustration. Nainiae, with a serious face, repeated what Andal had said just now.
“That day… The words that the Brave Hero said just before he fell from above to the ground… He said he remembers them well.”
Having heard what Nainiae repeated, Riley thought about his past life. He covered his mouth with his hand and furrowed his brows.
“What’s wrong with him?”
Andal had never seen Riley acting this way. It seemed that Andal was more surprised and dumbfounded than anyone else. He broke out in a cold sweat and looked at Nainiae.
“You look a bit odd too?”
Wondering if something was up, Andal went back and forth between Riley and Nainiae, tilting his head to the side. Unlike Riley, Nainiae had come back to her senses. She shook her head and said,
“No, it is nothing.”
Nainiae remembered the rule about being careful not to mention Riley’s past life so easily. She glanced at Riley who had a serious look on his face. She sent a signal.
Riley’s eyes met with Nainiae’s. Riley lightly nodded and said to Andal,
“It is just that I think I have heard that line somewhere. I think I heard that line before, but… I cannot remember where from…no matter how much I think about it.”
Andal, with a serious look on his face, checked Riley’s face and asked,
“Your memory seems to be coming and going lately. It is a bit unstable… By any chance, are you suffering from that illness that old humans are known to suffer often?”
“D… D… What was it? Dimension?”
“You mean Dementia?”
“Ah, right! Dementia!”
It was a familiar word. Riley and Nainiae peeked a smile and relaxed the heavy atmosphere a little. They started to roll their brains again.
“It is not dementia, so don’t worry.”
Of what the human that Andal had run into in Ansyrium said, Riley was thinking about ‘Brave Hero’ and ‘Fall.’ Riley thought about the conversation he had with a certain someone just before he died in his past life.
‘If you are asking me how it feels, I’m exhausted. Honestly, I’m exhausted.’
Standing above the clouds, the man had blood-like red skin and black horns. Riley remembered the conversation he had with the very last demon that he had fought in his past life. Riley asked Andal,
“By any chance, can you show me how the guy looked like?”
“What? As I thought, you know something?”
Having heard Riley’s request, Andal looked at Riley with suspicious eyes. Thinking it could not be helped, Andal used mirage magic to form the shape of the child he had met in Ansyrium.
“Here. This is how he looks like.”
With piercing gazes, Riley and Nainiae glared at the boy’s face which Andal had formed with mirage magic. They furrowed their brows.
The boy looked young. However, somehow, that belied the true age of the being and it showed on his face. Riley and Nainiae exchanged gazes with each other. It seemed they had confirmed it and were okay with Andal disengaging the mirage magic.
“Anyway, it is not certain if the ‘Old Friend’ that this bastard is talking about is you. However, if you know something, then I would appreciate it if you helped us. You just need to show your face for a moment. As for the rest, ‘We’ will handle it.”
He was talking about the other dragons beside himself who were making their moves concerning this incident. Nainiae checked Riley’s mood.
“Is the situation so serious that everyone needs to be involved?”
“Riley said there was no solution, so this is the best we could do. If we let that Epidemic man live, ruining a city or two like Ansyrium or Solia would be the least of our problems.”
Throwing the man into the sky or burying the man deep in the ground…Andal said they needed to eradicate that monster using any means necessary. Andal looked at Riley,
“Are you going to come along?”
Having heard the question, Riley asked back,
“If I don’t come along, what is going to happen?”
“We would collide with the human we are supposed to negotiate with.”
Andal said he was planning on killing the boy who seemed to be hiding the Epidemic man, the purple human that the dragons were chasing after and extract the memories from him. Having heard his plan, Riley sighed big.
“It is not important to know how that bastard figured out our identities and approached us first.”
Watching Riley sigh, Andal lightly lifted his right hand and ignited a fire above it.
“We are superior beings who are beyond this world.”
He then squashed the flame. Andal continued,
“Our task is maintaining this world’s balance.”
Balance of the world, our task… Riley watched his friend huffing and puffing all agitated next to him. This time, Riley sighed briefly inside.
‘What if…. What if that bastard who fell and died with me was also reincarnated in this world?’
In Riley’s past life, this being was called the Demon Lord. It was the demon who had finally and barely met his end after Riley went through all sorts of hardships. Riley was thinking about the possibility of the Demon Lord being reincarnated into this world along with himself. Riley supported his chin with his palm and agonized over this.
‘If it really is that bastard, then this is dangerous.’
Riley thought about how it would play out if Andal and his fellow kin members went to fight the bastard. Riley crumpled his eyebrows.
‘It won’t change anything even if Andal brought a few lizards with him. They will all die.’
Nainiae, who had Riley’s memories, seemed to be thinking the same thing. She glanced at Andal to check on his mood. Andal was still huffing and puffing.
‘I already have a headache because of Helena. Why do I need to mind that bastard too now?’
Although Riley could not be certain, since Riley was living in this world with the Blessing of Sword and his memories still intact…Riley could not jump hastily to the conclusion that the Demon Lord from his past life was not in the same situation as Riley.
‘What are you going to do?’
Nainiae glanced at Riley.
Feeling her gaze, Riley agonized over this briefly. It seemed that he had found an answer. He messed up his hair and got up.
“I’ll go too.”
“Why are you surprised? I said I’ll go too.”
Riley had agreed to go with Andal so easily, so Andal wondered if he was just hearing things. He dug his ear holes and asked again.
“What did you say?”
“I think I can understand why you said not to ask twice.”
Riley was not interested in repeating himself for the third time. Riley turned back to look at Nainiae and said,
“You stay here.”
Riley told Nainiae to stay at the mansion. He placed his hand on her shoulder and explained why.
“One of us needs to stay, isn’t that right? Are you going to go instead of me?”
“No matter how we look at this, it would be best if you stayed here. Use your magic to trick my family for the time being. I’ll be back soon.”
While he was going to be in Ansyrium with Andal, Riley was asking Nainiae to trick his family for the time being by staying at the mansion. He looked at Nainiae. He was asking if Nainiae could handle it well.
“Um. If it was Ian, he would have said ‘Finally, you have decided to work hard!’ and shed tears of joy.”
Facing Nainiae’s silence, Riley pretended to be preoccupied. He bought up Ian for no reason and muttered. Nainiae had a dissatisfied look on her face. She took a step closer to Riley and raised her hand toward him.
“… Ah, Uk.”
Feeling the sudden pain from above his forehead, Riley cringed. He stared at Nainiae who was taking a step back.
“You, what was…”
“You asked me, didn’t you?”
Nainiae had taken a strand of Riley’s hair out. Riley was going to argue and ask what that was for, but Nainiae asked him a question instead, so Riley tilted his head to the side.
“I thought we might get found out if I don’t do this properly, so…”
Nainiae dropped the hair to the floor and drew Dragon’s language in the air. The hair she dropped to the floor disappeared, and instead, a doll that looked just like Riley appeared.
“Ms. Sera in particular…She has such great sense of smell, so I think we would be found out even with this, but…”
It was a doll created with magic. It looked just like Riley. Intrigued, Riley stared at the doll. As if he was impressed, he turned to look at Nainiae.
“This is… Me, right?”
“Yes. I tried to make it look exactly like you.”
It seemed the doll could not talk. It just had its mouth vacantly open. It was one unfocused guy. Riley stared at the doll some more and changed the look on his face. In complaining tone, Riley asked,
“By the way, don’t you think this one looks a bit absent minded?”
Having heard his question, Andal and Nainiae responded at the same time.
“No, it is just like you.”
“I think it looks just like you.”
The doll’s face looked like he was about to drool. It seemed that Riley was thinking that this wasn’t right. He shook his head, smiled awkwardly and looked at Nainiae.
“Come on. Still, it is not this much.”
“That is… I made it to look like you as much as possible…”
Nainiae blushed. For some reason, she mumbled while pouting. Andal, who was watching the two from the side, snickered and joined in.
“What do you mean this is not it? It looks identical! The blurry, unfocused look on the face, the gaze that just screams ‘let me sleep’… It’s as if the doll came out of a waffle machine with your name on it. What’s different about this doll in comparison to you?”
Andal looked satisfied. He insisted over and over that the doll that Nainiae made was just like Riley. Riley put a frustrated look on his face.
“What the, what’s that look for?”
Andal put on violent look on his face. He was daring Riley to voice complaints. Andal pointed at Riley with his chin as he asked,
“That look in your eyes, are you saying that my pupil is not skilled?”
Riley had a dissatisfied look on his face. With his crumpled face, Riley raised his middle finger at Andal.
‘Y… Young Master…’
Watching Riley give Andal the finger, Nainiae gasped for air in silence and checked on Andal. Andal just stared at Riley and said,
He smiled as if he was satisfied.
“See. You know whose pupil she is, right?”
Despite the middle finger being aimed at the man, strangely, Andal was all happy. Nainiae wondered why Andal was acting this way. She tilted her head to the side and then remembered what had happened last year.
‘You. Starting today, you are my pupil.’
‘Say it after me. Doctor… No. Teacher.’
‘Try it. Teacher.’
‘Um! Good! I like the sound of that. Hahaha!’
‘Ah, ah haha…’
During last year’s fall… Nainiae was thinking about the time when Andal had accepted her as his pupil. Back then, Andal had raised his middle finger too. He looked happy. Remembering this, Nainiae looked at Riley.
‘By any chance…. The teacher is… still thinking that joke is…’
Riley, the one with the finger, was not expecting Andal to respond this way. Riley looked dumbfounded.
‘The middle finger means compliment?’
“That’s right. I’m complimenting you for your cool acting in the corridor just now.’
Andal still remembered the practical joke that Riley had tossed at him to make fun of him. Riley asked Nainiae with his gaze.
<You didn’t tell him?>
<That is… Yes. I couldn’t.>
<I was worried that you two might have a fight if I told him.>
The two were having a conversation in secret so Andal wouldn’t hear it. Andal was still flexing his shoulders. Nainiae and Riley saw Andal and nodded.
<It would be best to leave him out of it, right?>
<… Of course.>
The mood was more eased now in comparison to earlier. Riley and Nainiae both broke into laughter.
“You will… come back soon, right?”
Was it because of the mood?
Unlike earlier, Nainiae’s voice did not sound as worried as before.
Having heard the question, Riley also responded in a voice that was not as worrisome as earlier.