‘Is this the first time in this life?’
Riley thought to himself as he surveyed the area.
He had done it countless times before in his previous life, but this was the first time in this life.
Using the sword, that is.
‘I wonder how much I can do.’
Riley’s fingers twitched around the wooden sword.
As if checking all of his fingers, he moved them all one by one until he was satisfied and tucked his chin in.
The air was so thick with killing intent that it could explode at any moment.
Orelly who had been looking blankly at Riley opened her mouth.
Her shoulders were still shaking from the shock caused by the aura Riley was putting out.
Whether the shock led to hatred or fear was unknown.
“I said kill him!”
She had ordered her subordinates to kill Riley who was standing in front of them.
Although she was banished from the mansion, she was still the daughter of their master, and so they quickly moved to follow her orders.
Their first course of action was throwing their daggers.
Tes who remembered the Mental Message incident before the attack tried to shout, but it was already too late.
Ten or so knives were thrown, and the fight had begun.
The thoughts of his past came as he watched the daggers fly toward him.
Riley bit his lip silently as he was reminiscent of his previous life.
They weren’t the most pleasant memories.
‘It’s bringing me back.’
In his past life, he had once lost his loved ones to assassins.
It was because of the belief that a hero saving the world should avoid taking lives.
Thinking of them as people with families rather than criminals, he had shown mercy and let the assassins he had captured himself go free.
And then...tragedy struck.
What came after was a betrayal of his trust, and the lifeless bodies of those dear to him.
In the darkness...
The knives which had been thrown all around him by the hooded men, and the situation he was in now...
It reminded him of all the incidents that occurred because he was too soft back then.
‘Well, I can’t repeat the same mistake.’
Riley slowly moved forward.
He quickly spun his eyes around, counting the number of knives and analysing the angles at which they were flying in, then twisted his torso by moving his shoulder in a diagonal angle.
“What is he up to?”
Everyone’s eyes were focused on him as, instead of reflecting the knives back with his wooden blade, he held it pointed down onto the ground.
It seemed as though Riley, who was standing so defenselessly, would quickly turn into a pincushion with countless daggers in him.
Not a single knife managed to pierce him.
All of the daggers had unfathomably managed to miss by a hair’s breadth.
Because so many daggers were thrown at once, it appeared as if some had indeed succeeded in scratching the clothes he was wearing...but the important fact was that not a single dagger managed to hit him.
“You guys remember now, that it was self defense.”
It was them who attacked first.
Although he never had the intention to let any of them live from the beginning, but...he wanted to have an excuse for possible feelings of guilt that may come afterwards.
“Don’t go around spreading rumours in hell.”
With his strength focused on his toes, he kicked off the ground he was standing on.
Riley disappeared and a small hole was made upon where he previously stood.
Then Riley, who had vanished, appeared in an instant in front of the hooded man that was closest to him.
The hooded man made eye contact with the black-haired boy, felt chills going up his spine.
...And when he was about to shudder...
‘Why...is my sight...?’
Within the cold night...
The hooded man who wanted to tremble perhaps from the killing intent realised that he could not move his body.
Then, his vision simply moved up into the air.
The world spun.
When the hooded man’s sight fell onto the ground, his consciousness was no longer there.
His head was rolling on the ground, with his eyes devoid of life.
“What? What just happened...”
Nobody had noticed his movements.
In an instant, one of the assassins had lost his head to the boy.
Not with a sharp metal sword, but with a training sword normally used against a dummy.
They weren’t sure what had happened but they knew that there was clear disparity in skill.
‘This is hopeless!’
The sight they had just witnessed was so shocking, that all of the hooded men thought the same thing.
So, the desire to escape...flooded their minds.
Their eyes were filled with fear as they lost all will to fight.
‘Wait, my body...’
The ability to flee from one’s current location—it is without a doubt one of the most important skills an assassin should have.
Another emotion began to well up in their eyes as they prioritised their survival.
Their bodies simply did not move.
‘What’s up with my body?’
Is god messing with time?
While some of the assassins who were rooted began to think that...
Riley continued to move alone.
‘I can’t move!’
The hooded men couldn’t even twitch their fingers or toes.
That was the word that would best describe them now.
‘This... This can’t possibly be happening.’
Amidst the hooded men who were frozen like statues, Riley jumped from one person to the next, mercilessly swinging about his wooden sword.
With every slash, another head landed upon the ground.
They were unbelievable for strikes coming from a mere wooden sword.
“I’m not really into this kind of thing...and I’d rather not show any mercy for you guys, okay?”
Riley spoke as he recollected about his mistakes in the past.
“Don’t take this too hard.”
One by one, the assassins fell.
Riley spoke quietly to himself as he watched them fall with a frown.
“Sorry, but I won’t live like my past anymore.”
‘I will avoid tragedies born from leaving any trouble behind.’
Riley had told himself that phrase again and again.
He was no longer the hero with the holy blade, and didn’t need any of the responsibilities that came with it.
“Leaving any ‘seeds’ behind will just end up as nuisance.”
I will do what I want.
Rest as much as I want.
This is my life.
In this life, that will be my path.
Such had Riley decided upon.
“So that nothing annoying will happen.”
There was one exception.
“So that I will never lose those who are dear to me.”
If it had been the past.
If it had been...
Then he would have shackled himself to a path with the least number of deaths for other people.
As the chosen hero, he could not take the weight of lives lightly.
But he lived as ‘Riley’ in this world.
“So let me...”
Riley continued as he wished to lie on his soft bed at home.
“...Let me live an easy life.”
Riley swung his sword once more.
‘How, just how?’
Tes was staring with bloodshot eyes, shocked by Riley’s ability to defeat all of the assassins effortlessly.
Thankfully, although his hands and feet were paralysed like his subordinates, he could still move his eyes.
‘How can he not have any hesitation in killing someone? Is that really...someone who’s never fought with a sword for 19 years?’
Riley’s blade didn’t contain a single speck of hesitation.
It was hard to believe even after seeing it with both eyes.
‘I don’t...believe it...’
Tes may not have known it, but this was not the first time... Riley had cut another person.
If you included his ‘past’...
In fact, if you were to compare between the two, the number of assassins he was cutting through like butter now was drastically lower than back then.
“Young master! Hah...where did you run off to?”
After the storm that was Lady Orelly’s banishment, the Iphelleta mansion had gotten rowdy once more.
Riley who was having idle chit chat in Iris’s room until now had suddenly disappeared.
‘Did the assassins really kidnap young master? Was it to use him as hostage?’
There was no way he would be playing ‘hide and seek’ at this point in time.
Ian was speculating that Orelly, who was driven into a corner, had taken Riley away to plot a scheme.
Then he shook his head.
He did not want to consider the worst case scenario.
As Ian bit his lips, searching every nook and cranny of the mansion, a voice came from behind.
It was the maid Sera, who had been defending Iris’s bedroom together with him.
“Have you found young master?”
Ian who had replied looked at Sera intently.
Ian’s eyes were asking, ‘Have you found him?’
A shadow appeared on Sera’s face as she read Ian’s eyes.
“Neither have I.”
“He’s not here. No matter where we look. Maybe young master is already...no longer in the mansion...”
It had happened even though they were on alert.
Ian’s face crumbled at the fact that he had lost young master even though he had been right next to him.
It was the same for Sera.
She could not hide the guilt and helplessness, for being unable to defend Riley, on her face.
“Now is not the time to be glum.”
Ian turned his body and began to walk.
If he couldn’t be found in the mansion, then there was no choice.
They will look outside the mansion.
“Ian-nim! Wait! What are you planning to do outside the mansion? They were assassins! They are the elite assassins who managed to make the Tes Trade Guild which was nameless...into the famous guild everyone knows, in just 30 years! Assassins of such skill...would never leave any evidence behind of kidnapping! And it is night time. If you were to go out without preparation...”
Sera’s voice which was gaining volume was cut short.
It was because Ian turned his raging face at her.
“Are we supposed to wait with thumbs up our asses?!”
Ian roared at her.
Sera’s shoulders flinched at the old man whose face resembled that of a demon.
“Kuk...I apologise. That, was unlike me.”
‘I cannot be the only one who is mad.’
Ian apologised for his slip of the tongue.
His fist had been shaking for a long time.
“No. I understand.”
Just like Ian.
Sera who had been biting her lip, angry at the fact that she could not do anything, realised something and called Ian with both her eyes wide.
Ian looked at Sera with a question mark above his head.
What went through her mind was how the kitchen looked.
“There was something...which bothered me in the kitchen.”
“Something that bothered you?”
“I overlooked it before, but, the crate filled with corn...was open. Only that box, nothing else.”
“Just the corn crate?”
Ian’s brows twisted.
“What about it?”
“Oh yes, Ian-nim was not here.”
Just before, Riley had talked about ‘corn’ in Iris’s bedroom.
‘It’s something like a snack... You make it with some butter and corn.’
He had said those nonchalant words which did not suit the serious situation.
“I guess it’s a woman’s intuition? We should search there again!”
Reporting all that had happened before, Sera began to urge Ian to search the kitchen once more.
“Maybe we might find some evidence for young master’s disappeara-...”
“What is this?”
Both Ian and Sera flinched.
Behind them...stood Count Stein and his two sons