It was at Solia Castle.
Currently, in the arena, the final for the King’s Swordsmanship Tournament was taking place.
Riley was sitting in the stadium and chewing on snacks smacked his lips, but he furrowed his eyebrows. It appeared he noticed something that was an eyesore for him.
“There, that over there, look… Sera, did you just see that?”
Riley bumped his elbow to the maid’s arm as he asked.
To the sudden question, Sera, who was watching the final, gave a vacant response,
“Yes, I was watching at least.”
“What do you think is the problem?”
As Sera carefully observed the two young swordsmen in the arena swinging swords at each other, she tilted her head sideways while wondering if their techniques were correct.
“That’s right. You know well!”
Although she didn’t finish her sentence, because she said the most important word, Riley said as he nodded,
“They are not using their feet. They are only using their hands.”
Riley explained as he looked toward the arena.
As he advised to Sera, the two contestants fighting hard in the arena were only swinging their arms diligently without moving their feet.
“Even just now, if he had swung the sword as he stepped to the side, he could have aimed for a little better part.”
Not directing his words toward anyone in particular, Riley murmured on his own. Sera heard what Riley just said, and she narrowed her eyes to watch the flinging of the swords in the arena. Soon, she too murmured with her eyes wide open.
“Ah, it really is.”
It appeared that she also succeeded in noticing the shortcomings in the contestants’ techniques. If it was before she heard the advice from Riley, she would have said something like, ‘they are incredible despite their age,’ and only applauded.
“It really is. At that moment just now, if he used footwork, certainly…”
Sera felt like her eye for swordsmanship broadened compared to before. With her eyes opened, the sensation felt strange and new. It was something she would have never even imagined before. Excited by this, Sera’s eyes started to exude glowing light.
“Ah, young master… Again! There, he stepped wrong there again. Right?”
Riley slammed the top of his thighs in agreement.
By the look on his face, it seemed he managed to take out and resolve his frustration a little.
On the other hand, Iris, who was watching the two from the side, had a satisfied smile on her face. It was because, even as she thought about it again, she felt she made the right call on bringing Riley to the city.
She put aside her smile for a moment, turned and looked at Ian, who was sitting beside her. She asked,
“Ian, how’s your body?”
It was because his fight against Astroa yesterday looked pretty dangerous.
“Yes. I’m all right. I was in debt to the Holy Temple’s priests because my back felt a little stiff, but that was all. There is no need for you to worry.”
Ian shrugged his shoulders and answered as if it was nothing.
When it came to standing against a mage, Ian knew the methods.
In fact, during the fight against Astroa, he either redirected or blocked the magic attacks with his sword. He was never once hit directly by the magic attacks.
“If I was just a few years younger, I could have dealt more damage to him. That’s my only regret.”
Ian narrowed his eyes as he thought about yesterday. Until now, Ian didn’t have much of a feel for the fact that his body was gradually aging.
However, because of so many incidents happening in a row, he started to seriously worry.
“Ian, there is no need for you to feel guilty about it. If you were going to criticize yourself by thinking that way, then I have done nothing at all when I was there, so…”
Iris fiddled with her fingers placed in her lap.
Yesterday, in Lower Solia, when Astroa was running amok, all she had done was nodding her head when her son handed her the brown-sugar beer that he was drinking as he said he will be back.
“Ah, it’s over.”
With an exhilarating sound, one of the contestants’ swords was bounced off to the side. Soon, with the sound of the crowd going wild filling up the colosseum, the King’s Swordsmanship Tournament came to its conclusion. The master of ceremonies (M.C.) said to the crowd,
“Soon after this, there will be the award ceremony. Everyone, please keep the seats and congratulate the victor and send out encouragements to the defeated.”
With the final concluded,
“Hm… It’s over already?”
Ian was sending applause toward the arena as he murmured quietly that the overall skill level of the contestants was lower than the past.
“Ah, is that so? So their skill levels were lower than the contestants of the past tournaments?”
Having heard what Ian said, Riley put his hands to the back of his head and locked the fingers.
“I thought something was up. It felt like they came to Solia Castle for sightseeing instead of having a business about swords.”
“Ah haha… Um?”
Sera was showing a hollow smile as she watched Riley looking uncomfortable about something, but she noticed something in the distance. She pointed her finger toward the lower side of the arena.
“Young master, over there… Please look over there.”
When she pointed in that direction, at the same time, the M.C. of the tournament, who was standing in the middle of the colosseum, looked over his shoulder and then started to talk in front of the voice amplifier device that the Magic Tower invented.
“Ah, as for the award ceremony, prince Daniel of Solia Castle will be doing the honors.”
The swordsmanship tournament’s M.C. bowed toward the people in the stadium and took his leave.
Right after that, Daniel, the prince of Solia, came up to the arena.
He had a few red hair strands mixed in his blonde hair. Overall, his face was that of a handsome man’s.
“Ah, ah. It’s a pleasure seeing you all. I’m Daniel.”
Unlike how it was when the victor of the tournament was decided. Let alone sounds of applause, not even sounds of people breathing could be heard. It appeared that this was because all spectators were trying to show respect to the royalty.
“Those that are well informed probably already know this, but…”
Daniel continued as he looked around the stadium. Appearing to be intending to go straight to the main point, his voice was very serious.
“…during this year’s tournament…there was a contestant that used drug that is forbidden in Solia.”
The contestant that used drugs. He was probably talking about Erengium House.
What the prince was trying to explain was simple.
It appeared that the message he wanted to deliver was, during this tournament, Solia had nothing to do with the drugs that Erengium House used, and Solia will do its best to stop the use of drugs.
Sera hid her mouth with her hand and whispered to Riley’s side,
“Um, young master. What do you think happened to the Erengium House?”
“I don’t know?”
Sera’s whisper to his ear was making it tickle, so Riley used his hand to scratch it, and then he said he doesn’t know as he shrugged his shoulder.
‘Although I don’t know, it probably didn’t end well for them.’
At minimum, they would be suffering the loss of their titles, and in the worst case scenario, their three generations of lineage would be going extinct.
Riley thought those were within the realm of possibilities as the punishment.
“Ah, there is one more thing I would like to inform you about.”
Prince Daniel, the one standing on the arena who had the attention of everyone in the stadium, continued. It appeared there was something else in addition to the incident about drugs.
“I heard there is an exemplary nobility that uncovered despicable secrets hidden in the Magic Tower in addition to the drugs that I just told you about.”
Question marks started to float up on the faces of the people in the stadium. Even Riley, who was supporting his head with his hands and leaning against the chair in a comfortable and relaxed angle, had a question mark on his face.
Ian, Sera and Iris flinched.
“I believe there are people from Iphelleta, the House of a count, attending the swordsmanship tournament today. Where are you seated?”
Prince Daniel looked around the stadium. It was certain that he was looking for the group from Iphelleta that was sitting somewhere in the stadium.
“Uh, uh, that is…”
Having heard what the prince said, Ian became like a clockwork doll with his mouth repeatedly opening and closing.
As if she didn’t know how it came to this, with her eyes rolling all over the place, Iris wasn’t able to sit still.
As for Sera…
“Y-Young master… Did you hear that just now? Prince Daniel said…”
…she was about to look at Riley who was sitting next to her, but she opened her mouth with a vacant stare.
Riley, who was sitting there until a moment ago, was now gone without a trace.
Before he even realized himself, he kicked the seat and got out of there. He thought,
‘…What the hell?’
He was in Solia Castle’s restroom.
He hid in the very last stall at the end. He sat there with his eyes blinking in disbelief.
The one to be praised for incredible exploits of uncovering the narcotics and horrid secrets of the Magic Tower was not supposed to be him.
‘Nobody would have seen me? The overall composition of the work was perfect?’
Riley was thinking that the one to be accredited for the exploits was supposed to be Nainiae, not him.
It was supposed to be that girl, the one who was taken advantage of over and over just like how Riley had been in his past life.
‘Why am I being brought up?’
During the battle against Astroa that ended his life, it certainly was Riley who threw the sword that pierced Astroa’s chest.
In order to leave no evidence, he asked Nainiae to use her most flashy magic so that it would completely vaporize even the sword that was stuck in Astroa’s chest.
In fact, because Nainiae’s magic perfectly vaporized the sword, if anyone that were not aware of the actual circumstances saw it, they would all have thought that it was Nainiae that defeated Astroa.
Unable to figure out how it came to this, Riley was looking vacantly with glazed eyes. It was at that moment.
Tap Tap Tap
He could hear the sounds of footsteps.
“…He is here.”
The voice belonged to a girl.
Riley’s eyes twitched. It was because he knew to whom the voice belonged to.
“R-Really? He’s here?”
Then he could hear another voice.
Riley also knew to whom this voice belonged to.
In the past he took a leave just to avoid running into the owner of that voice.
“Excuse me. That is… Young Master Riley?”
The muscles on Riley’s face had flinched several times by the time he heard the priestess. Riley used mana to change his voice and responded,
“Aham. This place is…men’s room?”
The question was piercing the heart of the matter. He could hear someone flinching on the other side. It was a hard question for the priestess to ignore.
“I’ll be opening the stall door.”
Inside the stall, Riley was trying to figure out the situation, and now his gaze quickly turned toward the door’s lock.
By a shot of a magic spell, the lock slowly slid and the door opened on its own.
Riley felt like he could understand a little why his own butler had such a strong hatred toward mages. Riley narrowed his eyes.
Soon, the door opened, and Riley witnessed the two girls standing in front of the last stall.
The funny thing was the fact that it was the priestess who had her face turned red and covered with her hands.
“I’m going to file a lawsuit for sexual harassment.”
Unable to hide how uncomfortable he was feeling about the situation, with his face completely crumpled, Riley murmured.
Of course, there was no way that the girl would have known what Riley meant by the lawsuit, which was a concept belonging only to his past life’s world.
In response, Nainiae only tilted her head to the side.
“God damn it! You used that eye?”
Riley asked Nainiae as he stood up.
He was asking about Nainiae’s dead-white eye, the one that has the ability to track people.
Nainiae nodded proudly and looked at Riley.
Although she only had one good eye, her clear and polished eye looked like it was begging Riley to hurry up and praise her for her deed.
‘It’s not like I can do something about her.’
The way she looked right now felt like it was overlapping with how he was in his past life where he thirsted for praise.
Riley ground his teeth loudly and gently rapped her forehead.
She touched her head as if it hurt. Looking at her, Riley sighed heavily. Still grinding his teeth, Riley directed his glare toward the priestess.
“I don’t have my pants down, so how about you get rid of those hands?”
“You walked right into a men’s restroom without hesitation. Ha! Looks like the priestess in you died all the way.”
“E-Excuse me? Also, didn’t you say you were not interested in me anyway?”
Riley clicked his tongue. Revealing how annoyed he was in all sorts of ways, Riley stared at the two girls.
“What is it?”
With a fist gently touching her lips, Priesia did a few coughs to calm her voice and fixed her gaze on Riley.
“That is, I think it is not right to bring up something like this so abruptly in a men’s restroom, but you…have been chosen by the goddess Irenetsa.”
Riley’s eyebrows twitched.
The progression of it all…
It was so familiar.
It was similar, and also, he was sick and disgusted by it.
“So, I’m telling you this. Young Master Riley…”
Riley stopped himself from shaking out of agitation.
‘No way. It wouldn’t be, right?’
Riley murmured inwardly and interjected Priesia,
“By chance, are you going to ask me to hunt down something? Is that it?”
“Pardon? Ah, yes…that is it.”