“…Please try getting up.”
Instead of the eldest son of Erengium, Ian went to help his servant who appeared to have suffered a serious injury to the upper body. While at it, Ian was chewing over in his head what just occurred before his eyes.
‘Just…let me live in peace!’
Even in Ian’s opinion, Aploc’s skills were extraordinary.
Although a man like that was fully focusing his mana, Riley was not even batting his eyes.
Ian pondered at what it could mean.
‘It is not a matter of how much talent you have. My young master already is capable of skillfully using mana.’
Ian concluded as such.
Ian thought about how Riley coughed out words of anguish as he swung his arms around. Ian’s hands were shaking. He could not hide his excitement.
‘Young master is not ordinary. By now, he is probably capable of effortlessly controlling mana at will to the point that he can even fool the mana measurement.’
‘Since when did he?’
The thought gave Ian chills down his spine and made him shiver.
‘Could it be that the young master is…a dragon out in the human world for an amusement?’
Dragons were superior beings said to live well over ten thousand years.
Ian remembered stories about them sometimes enjoying themselves posing and living amongst humans, and he considered the possibility of Riley being one of those dragons shape-shifted into a human form.
‘This deadly aura, this mana…if that is not the case, none of these can be explained.’
However, soon Ian shook his head.
It was because his theory was not possible.
Ian watched the moment of Riley’s birth.
The young master that Ian served was born from Iris’s womb, not from breaking through eggshells.
‘In that case…the lady Iris?’
‘If she was a dragon living amongst humans, would she also give birth like humans?’
‘Wait. If she really is a dragon, what was that about her coughing blood from a mere poison?’
‘A powerful dragon coughing blood from a mere poison meant for human? Is that possible? Because she is in a human form?’
Ian was chasing tail to tail on his theories and questions.
‘No way… Get a grip, Ian!’
Ian’s face was full of excitement.
His heart was pumping so hard that it felt like it was about to burst.
It was different from the last time when he collapsed in the mansion.
‘The important thing is that, as expected, what I thought about the young master’s abilities is not wrong.’
Gathering up his strength, Ian used his remaining arm to also shoulder Aploc and started to walk.
‘As I thought, young master is incredible!’
The corners of Ian’s mouth went up on their own.
It was because he was proud of his young master.
Tears were forming in his eyes, which were wrinkled from age.
‘Of course! Definitely! I had faith in him! He is the master that I serve after all! Definitely!’
Ian was wiping off the tears from his eyes, but then he suddenly stopped walking.
Ian remembered the favor that Iris asked of him.
“Please keep it a secret.”
On the carriage, on their way to Solia after slaying the goblins, Iris said that to Ian.
‘What? What I witnessed with my eyes today… I need to keep this secret?’
Ian’s face was overflowing with joy, but now it suddenly turned dark.
“Hello… Excuse me.”
Ian was walking while helping Aploc and his servant, but he heard a delicate voice coming from the back and that made his shoulders shiver.
It was not only delicate, but also somehow soft and fine.
The beautiful voice was coming from his rear.
Ian could also feel the presence of many people along with the voice, so he sharpened his eyes and turned his head.
There were about twenty people within Ian’s sight.
The people were either wearing white clothing or armor.
Even at a glance, they were definitely people from Solia Temple.
“What could have happened… Huk?!”
‘They are the people from the Solia Temple. What business do they have at the castle where the Swordsmanship Tournament is being held at the moment?’
‘And why, of all times, now they want to talk to me?’
With his eyes sharpened, Ian looked toward the people, and then,
He gasped for air.
‘That… That person is?’
There was a person with a veil covering the face.
No. It was a girl.
Ian found a girl who appeared to have come straight from the Temple and had holy knights and priests standing behind her.
“At this place…”
The girl with her face hidden behind the veil spoke.
A soft voice, that felt like it contained a special power, echoed in the corridor.
As Ian thought about how she must be delivering divine messages or curing people with that voice, and that was making him overcome with a sense of piety.
“I heard that the guest who came to the temple yesterday is here.”
Priesia, the priestess from Solia Temple, continued.
It looked like she was looking for someone.
‘That cannot be.’
‘That cannot be, right?’
Ian was picturing in his mind the trouble that transpired at the temple yesterday.
Pricia carefully walked toward Ian.
As if there was nothing to it, Priesia walked all the way to the front of Ian, and then she asked,
“Have you always known?”
Ian’s face turned completely pale.
This fragile-hearted butler was now thinking about what Riley said at the temple yesterday.
‘Ugh, no matter how I look at you, you are ugly as hell!’
Just thinking about it made Ian’s heart pound like little girl’s. Because of the predicament he was in, Ian looked like he could cry.
‘Ah, why is my memory so good?’
He blamed his sharp memory.
The three matches for the day ended.
Sera stretched to loosen up her body that became stiff from sitting for so long, and she immediately relaxed back down.
She looked a little disappointed.
“How do I say this… Maybe it is because the contestant that I was rooting for lost. I don’t feel good.”
“Are there revival rounds or anything like that?”
“I heard there isn’t anything like that in the rules.”
“That is too bad.”
Iris laughed as if she thought it was funny, and then she asked to Sera,
“Well then, did we watch all of the matches for the day? Somehow, it feels like they ended rather quickly?”
“Yes. There weren’t many matches today because there was the opening ceremony, but also because there were fewer contestants than the last year. Still, since there won’t be an opening ceremony tomorrow, they will have more matches then. They didn’t give a notice, but I’m projecting that it will continue until there are only four contestants left.”
“So, in the day after tomorrow, they will probably hold the semi-finals and the finals.”
“That makes sense.”
All of today’s matches were now concluded.
The nobilities in the spectator seats were starting to stand up here and there.
Sera and Iris followed suit and stood up from their seats.
“Anyway, they were surprising. The House of Erengium.”
Sera murmured as she got up and tidied up the place.
“Yes. Considering his skill for the age, he is almost at the same level as Master Ryan.”
“Hm. What if you compared him to Riley?”
“In comparison to the young master? Hm…”
Sera held her finger at her chin as she tilted her head.
Even for Sera, it was a question that she could not come to a conclusion easily.
‘When it comes to skills, our Young Master Riley is definitely steps ahead.’
Sera predicted that, unlike the Erengium House’s second-born son, Riley was different from him starting with the attitude in holding a sword.
Sera have never seen Riley holding any sword while in the mansion, yet Riley was not shocked at all after cutting down the goblins with ease. Based on that, Sera figured that there is definitely something about Riley.
Not only his attitude, but based on the swordsmanship alone, she thought that Riley definitely had an upper hand.
From Sera’s perspective, who have seen the blade works of both Erengium’s second-born son and Riley, her assessment was like that.
If there was one problem,
‘Difference in mana must be…’
She was thinking that there must be a difference in mana.
A matter of the difference in natural born talent. A difference that could not be helped by skills.
It was the talents related to mana.
The mana measurement from the Magic Tower showed that Riley’s mana capacity is average.
In comparison, Erengium’s second-born son appeared to have substantially superior talent in mana.
This was the one thing that kept Sera from making a conclusive assessment.
“Well, I am not sure.”
Because of this, Sera turned her head toward Riley to ask directly.
“Young master, what do you think… Huh? Young master?”
Sera blinked her eyes.
It was because Riley, who was with her only a moment ago, disappeared and appeared to have gone somewhere.
“He said that since Ian is still not here, he should go escort him here. He took his leave before us.”
Based on the look on Sera’s face, it appeared that Iris guessed what Sera wanted to know. Iris told Sera where Riley went.
“Now that I think about it, Mr. Ian is still…”
Did he eat something bad?
Did he open a street vendor shop next to a restroom?
While thinking about Ian, who was still not with them, Sera scratched her cheek.
‘Um. Is it going to be all right for the young master to roam around by himself?’
Sera was thinking she should scold Ian when he returns.
Iris smiled nonchalantly toward Sera and tossed a question.
“You never know? While he had the time to spare, maybe he went to find himself a bride?”
Sera’s face turned red.
“What you said a while ago, that was not a joke?”
Iris only smiled without saying anything else.
This time, she didn’t reply to say that it was a joke.
“Ah, ah haha.”
In light of Iris’s smile, Sera started to laugh, but she quickly shut her mouth when she felt the presence of many in front of her. She looked toward them.
The nobilities, who were on their way to exit the seating area, were gathered at the exit.
It looked like someone was blocking the way.
‘What’s going on?’
Curious, Iris was tilting her head. She decided to go with Sera toward the exit to find out what was going on.
“Huh? Sera, over there… Isn’t that Ian?”
“Please come again?”
Looking past the shoulders of nobilities murmuring in front of her, Sera found a butler who looked like he lost his soul. Flabbergasted, Sera’s eyes opened wide.
“That… That’s right? It is Mr. Ian. Why is Mr. Ian over there?”
‘Mr. Ian is blocking the way? Why? For what reason?’
‘If that’s the case, what happened to the young master who went to look for him?’
Questions in Sera’s mind were only leading to yet another question. Sera rolled her eyes in search of Riley, and soon, she found people dressed in white standing alongside Ian.
They were holy knights and priests from Solia Temple.
Several additional question marks floated up on Sera’s face.
“We apologize for blocking the way. Right now…we are looking for the people from the House of Iphelleta.”
Eventually, among the people from Solia Temple, a girl with a veil covering her face spoke.
Because Sera was from Solia, her face changed fast once she heard the familiar voice that she seemed to have heard from somewhere.
‘Oh my… Pr-Priestess Priesia?!’
On the corner of the Solia Castle’s Swordsmanship Tournament Arena, Riley leaned toward the wall and avoided the gazes of people. He then took out a hard object from his pocket.
“I am glad that I bought this yesterday in advance.”
Yesterday, when Riley was with his mother at Solia’s main plaza, he purchased this from a street vendor. It was a mask.
Upon wearing it, it was a mask that concealed the upper half of his face.
It could also be worn to cover up his hair if the mask was put on from the top, so the design was such that it would not be wrong to call it a full mask.
“I hope he is keeping up the good work and watching his mouth.”
Riley twiddled with the mask.
Remembering the Erengium House that he warned a moment ago, Riley was looking for Aploc’s energy.
“If things get out of hand, it is going to be inconvenient.”
As he murmured, he quickly turned his head.
It was toward beyond Solia Castle’s walls.
The direction he was looking in was toward Lower Solia.
“… Man… Of all places.”
‘Why is the Erengium House heading towards Lower Solia?’
‘Since one of their servants is injured, for the treatment alone, they should be heading toward Right Solia?’
However, other than that question, what bothered Riley was the fact that they were moving along the outermost eastline, the furthest location from here. Feeling lazy, Riley cringed.
“What a bother.”
After scaling Solia Castle’s walls, Riley put strength to his heels and then made a leap in the direction of the Main Plaza.
The destination was Lower Solia, the place that Erengium House must be headed for.