That what Riley had found...
They were pieces of ripped paper which had been put together.
Ian looked dumbfounded at the paper, and spoke,
Riley answered seriously.
“...Why are you presenting me used toilet paper?”
Riley held tightly onto the paper as his eyebrows furrowed for a moment.
His aggrieved face looked as if there was a misunderstanding.
“No, that’s not it!”
‘Who does he think I am?’
In order to clear the misunderstanding, Riley sent a sharp glare as he stretched his clenched fist forward.
As Riley moved his chin about, Ian put his hand forward with his lips shriveled.
Riley opened his hand and its contents fell onto Ian’s.
Ian, who had been examining the paper observantly, carefully opened it.
Thankfully, no brown stains could be found on it.
As Ian made a sigh of relief, Riley’s eyes squinted once more.
Ian’s eyes looked closely at the paper, and found something.
There were some words written on the paper.
But what’s this?
The handwriting was quite familiar to Ian.
“Can you tell?”
As the paper was ripped, there was no way to figure out everything that was written on the original, but it did contain a certain ‘ingredient’.
This familiar handwriting...
Coupled with the ingredient which was most likely put into the soup recently.
Only one person came into mind from taking these two facts into account.
If you were to grab any bystander, and ask who was the strongest combatant in the Iphelleta House, nine out of ten people would say it was the master of the house, Count Stein.
“I’ve got to admit, you’re a sly rat.”
Surprisingly, a lone hooded man could last against him for quite a long time.
Naturally, it was Tes.
He was the chief of all the invading hooded men.
Whenever Stein’s mana blade was discharged, he would dodge it by a hair’s breadth and simply harass him back from a distance.
‘As expected of my son-in-law.’
If this were a close-quarters combat situation, Tes would most definitely lose.
‘There’s no way I can beat my son-in-law.’
It was obvious who the winner was in terms of skill, but Tes’s objective was not Stein’s head.
Were he seriously trying to take Stein’s life, he would much rather ambush him or poison his food rather than brazenly fight him out in the open... Taking such a differing approach was the assassin’s way, and much more effective.
His objective now was simply to buy time. While his subordinates retrieved their comrade’s corpse located somewhere in the mansion, he would keep the strongest swordsman, Count Stein, at bay.
‘We’ve got the dagger. Now we just wait for them to retrieve the body.’
Tes spun his wrist around to ease the ache as he created distance from Stein’s powerful lunge.
If things were according to his expectations, he just had to withstand this for another two minutes and he would win objectively.
Stein clicked his tongue at the hooded man’s agile evasive maneuvers.
He figured out what his opponent was aiming for.
“Are you trying to buy time?”
Tes did not reply.
As he hadn’t changed his voice, he might be found out if he were to reply.
As the master of the Tes Trade Guild, he had seen him once when he was younger.
His daughter’s wedding had been their second meeting.
Although he had only seen him twice in his life, Stein would most likely remember his voice.
He had to be careful because he was still his father-in-law.
Right now he wasn’t acting as the master of the Tes Trade Guild, but as the chief of the Assassin Guild.
“It seems I’ve been underestimated.”
The situation didn’t seem like it was getting any better.
Stein’s sword simply could not touch his opponent.
Stein spoke with his brows furrowed, as if irritated.
“I can tell that you lack the skills to kill me. A pathetic man who is skilled only in fleeing.”
Therefore, Stein changed his mind.
His objective went from the man’s capture, to his death.
Tes felt cold sweat dripping from his face as he realised the situation had suddenly changed for the worse, and put all his nerves on high alert.
A moment of carelessness would be the end of him.
‘One bad move and I might actually die now.’
‘Although it won’t be long, let’s buy some more time.’
As Tes made such a decision, he was about to use the smoke screen device hanging on his waist when...
Tes flinched as he heard the anxious footsteps coming from behind the door.
None of his subordinates would make such noise.
That meant that the owner of those footsteps would be...
The man who came barging through the door was an old man in the garbs of a butler.
His face was covered in sweat, as if he came while hurrying.
Why was Ian here, when Stein thought he was protecting Riley at his side?
As Stein was getting worried his eyes glanced behind Ian.
There was another familiar face accompanying him.
Ian wasn’t the only person who came to Stein’s office.
Although it didn’t seem intended, there was one more visitor.
“Ian? W-What are you doing?”
Wearing a dress, her pride on full display.
Her orange hair was tied to the back.
Lady Orelly was the second visitor.
It seemed as though she was forced to come, as she tried to escape Ian’s grasp.
She seemed desperate to run away from here, unable to hide her look of inconvenience.
“Master, Lady Orelly... Lady Orelly!”
Stein took a glimpse at the hooded man after hearing those words, then put his sword down.
As if even more surprised than him, the hooded man stood there like stone, losing all will to fight.
“Riley! Are you okay? You’re not hurt are you?”
“Yes, don’t worry.”
“Dear lord, what a disaster this is...”
After coming to Iris’s room, Riley sent Ian to Lady Orelly, and proceeded to hug his mother to prove his well-being.
Currently, the maid Sera was watching pleasantly at the reunion from the sidelines as she guarded them.
Thankfully, no assassins came to this room.
Riley slowly turned his head towards Sera after the hug.
“Yes, young master?”
Sera quickly came back to reality and bowed her head.
Although she had thought that Riley looked entertained for a moment, she quickly dismissed the thought.
“Do you have any popcorn?”
Sera tilted her head, unable to understand the question.
‘...Ah, do they not have any of that here?’
Riley scratched his head realising his mistake, when Iris asked,
“Riley, what is popcorn?”
Realising that the snack he had enjoyed back in his previous life wasn’t here, he thought of how to avoid the question then gave up and began to explain.
“It’s something like a snack... You make it with some corn and butter.”
A snack when assassins had invaded the mansion?
There was a limit to being so carefree.
Sera made an empty look as her shoulders drooped.
‘What I heard from Ian-nim was just the tip of the iceberg.’
Sera who had heard complaint after complaint from Ian, finally felt as if she could understand his feelings a little and made a bitter smile.
“Riley... A snack isn’t bad but, do you have to eat it now?”
Even Iris who would always reply with a smile to anything related with Riley, didn’t seem like she would let this one go.
Therefore, her face turned serious as she prepared to scold her son.
As Sera’s and Iris’s eyes turned toward him, Riley finally showed some sign of worry and quickly made some excuse.
“But, there’s going to be some entertainment soon... I’d like to eat something with it...”
“What did you say?”
Unable to hear the small voice, Sera and Iris asked for him to repeat himself.
Riley smiled awkwardly.
“Ah, no. It’s nothing. I’m sorry. I’ll think about what I’ve done. I’m sorry, Sera. Bothering you like this.”
With a quick apology from Riley, Iris who was ready to scold him and Sera who was confused looked at each other.
“But, Sera... There’s some corn in the kitchen right?”
Sera’s jaw dropped.
She could finally understand.
A little...no, a lot.
She could finally understand Ian’s feeling.