Chapter 5 - Nightly guest
In the training grounds of the Iphelleta mansion.
Within the dark field, a black-haired boy stood.
The way he held the wooden sword was a little awkward.
The boy sighed while staring at the dummy.
It was a dummy filled with straw, without any sort of internal mechanisms; it was purely for novices.
‘Shall I test it?’
He mumbled to himself as he spread his feet to shoulder width.
This stance was quite different from that of his two brothers.
After controlling his breathing, he charged toward the dummy, striking it.
The strike made a dull noise.
A new mark could be seen on the dummy.
The mark was very faint, but it was a good strike nonetheless, considering it was his first time swinging the sword.
Yet, it was hard to count it as a strike from the Iphelleta House, the House that was said to be blessed by the sword.
Ian, who saw the strike happen, spoke uncertainly.
It was…severely lacking compared to his expectations.
As far as Ian knew, Riley had more than enough talent to cut the dummy’s head in a single slash.
The situation now looked worse than ever.
“P-Please, try again!”
Ian shook his head and pleaded once more.
He thought to himself repeatedly that his eyes did not deceive him.
“This should do...”
Riley muttered faintly.
He then proceeded to cast away the wooden blade upon the ground.
“That’s it. I’m bored.”
Surprised, Ian stretched his arm towards him.
“W-Where are you going?”
“The library. I’ll just read myself to sleep.”
“Young master! Please, just one more time!”
Ian bit his lips as his eyes gazed upon the wooden blade lying on the ground.
A warrior throwing his blade away?
Ian knew how heavy of a meaning it carried.
Although Riley would not have had a clue what it meant.
“He changes his mind like a girl does changing her clothes.”
In a room, shrouded in darkness.
A woman wearing a white dress turned her head.
Behind her was a hooded man, who had his head lowered. Dressed fully in black, he followed her like a shadow.
“How was his skill?”
The woman asked while looking out through the moonlit windows.
“His skill was...”
The hooded figure paused momentarily.
“I do not know if these words would fit a man of the Iphelleta House, but his talent for the blade was nonexistent. The strike he displayed was a perfect example of a novice.”
The woman smirked upon hearing the man’s report.
“Well what did you expect? He is the famous Master Lazy Sword.”
As she spoke to herself, the man tilted his head as he asked a question.
“Then are the rumors true? That he has never swung a sword?”
“Yes. It is true.”
The man, an assassin hired by the woman, sighed in disbelief.
Anyone in the Iphelleta House could become successful by wielding a sword.
In that family, he was born a third child, and did nothing.
And when he finally changed his mind at the age of 18, he threw away the sword realising it had little effect.
How pathetic that child is.
“It didn’t seem like he has a weak body either. How shameless.”
The man stood up while clicking his tongue.
His mission here was complete.
Mission one, deliver the poison for the soup.
Mission two, stalk the third son.
Those were the missions he was tasked with.
“Then, I shall take my leave.”
“Yes. Well done. Do send my regards to Father.”
“He has been complaining about not being able to see you more often.”
“Alright, I’ll visit soon.”
As the woman waved her hand, the hooded man disappeared, as if melting away into the floor.
The woman laughed while gazing up at the moon.
“I was worried for nothing, silly me.”
The flames of jealousy in her heart seemed to have calmed down a little.
In a corridor of the Iphelleta mansion.
After leaving Lady Orelly’s room, the hooded man sneaked through the corridor in order to avoid being detected by the master of the house.
He then turned his head, feeling an intense bloodlust behind him.
‘...What was that?’
He was one of the top three within the organisation.
Even the mansion’s master, Count Stein could not avoid being detected by him.
If Lady Orelly was correct, he should still be in his office, in the middle of all the paperwork that needed attending to.
The hooded man called upon all of his mana within to detect life in the mansion.
As expected, Stein was still in the office.
Since his presence was settled there, this bloodlust crawling on his back could not be his.
“Who is it?”
The man turned and asked.
There was no answer.
“Am I mistaken? No, it can’t be.”
As a veteran in this line of work, there was no way he would mistake such intent.
The hooded man lowered his stance and increased his guard.
Tension filled the air in the dark corridor.
The hooded man, on the edge of his nerves, frowned in frustration.
This stabbing sensation of bloodlust was getting closer.
‘Who is this fool? Is he trying to call the count here too?’
With such thick killing intent filling the air, not only Stein but even the first and second sons would come running here as well.
And they would surely be cut in two.
“Oi, if you keep this up, both-”
The hooded man tried to speak, but held his breath in the next instant.
A voice came out from the end of the corridor, breaking the silence.
“I thought a rat got inside.”
The footsteps started to become louder.
“A nightly guest?”
“If I recall correctly, there weren’t any arrangements for guests to arrive at this hour.”
There was only one reason why the hooded man held his breath with his eyes wide open.
Even though the voice and the footsteps could be heard, the presence could not be detected.
‘I-Is there another like me?’
How is it possible, when it seemed mana was not being used at all?
The hooded man considered the slim chance that a great senior in his line of work was also stationed in the estate.
“It seemed like you came out of Lady Orelly’s room.”
The man behind the voice showed himself.
He sounded rather calm and leisurely.
The moonlight from the windows revealed the man’s foot, his clothes and finally his face.
The hooded man’s jaw dropped when he realised who it was, stretching the mask covering his face.
“Let’s have a chat.”
It was the same man the hooded man could not understand.
His eyes opened wide, unable to believe the scene that was unfolding in front of him.