With the King’s Swordsmanship Tournament events all concluded, Riley’s group was on its way back to the mansion while riding in Iphelleta House’s carriage.
The atmosphere inside the carriage was a bit odd because the group now had one more person unlike how it was when they first came to visit Solia. However, it was not the case for Iphelleta House’s Young Master Riley and Lady Iris.
“The fireworks on the last day... They were gorgeous, weren’t they?”
“Yes. Mother, this is the first time you saw the fireworks, right?”
“They were so pretty. I think I’ll never get bored of it no matter how many times I watch them.”
The mother and the son were busy chattering about the events during the last day of the festival.
On the other hand, unlike the young master and the lady that he served, the old butler was not feeling all that comfortable. With his arms crossed, he glared at the driver’s seat as he tapped his fingers.
“…Regardless, if you are going to serve our young master from now on!”
In the direction that Ian was looking in, there were two little girls sitting in the drivers’ seats of the carriage. They were Sera in maid dress and Nainiae in white dress.
It looked like Sera was in middle of providing Nainiae with private education.
“Instead of casual language, it would be better to use a respectful language!”
Listening to Sera’s advice, Nainiae, who was sitting right next to her in the drivers’ seats, nodded her head as she said,
Sera, who was driving the carriage, turned her head toward Nainiae and narrowed her eyes.
Nainiae felt the heat somehow coming from the gaze. She tilted her head to the side as she wondered if she did something wrong. Soon, she realized her mistake and corrected her response.
“Ah, I understand… My apologies.”
It seemed she still didn’t quite become fully aware of the mistakes in her language. Nainiae, with an awkward expression on her face, was fiddling with her fingers.
“That is, my old habits are still there, so…”
In Lower Solia, a place full of people with foul mouths, she had been indebted to that place for quite a while ever since she was abandoned by the Magic Tower.
It appeared that she was so accustomed to Lower Solia’s foul language that she was currently having difficulty adjusting to respectful language.
Sera, who was driving the carriage, sighed heavily enough to make the ground sink.
In her opinion, actually, with all things considered, Nainiae’s language was in a pretty good shape.
Despite having spent quite a while in Lower Solia, Nainiae was not carrying disturbing and vulgar swears in her mouth. Instead of complaining about Nainiae having problems with adjusting her language, Sera at least found it to be fortunate that Nainiae didn’t swear like that.
‘Although I didn’t want to be understanding of her over something like this.’
Sera knew well about the old habits that Nainiae spoke of earlier.
It was because there was a time when Sera lived in Lower Solia and it also took her quite a while to correct her language afterwards.
Moreover, the foul language she had back then was far rougher than how Nainiae’s language was now.
‘I’m not liking this…’
Although Sera was someone who had experience living in Lower Solia, because of her experience, she didn’t like Lower Solia and people from that place.
The slightly scrunched expression on her face was revealing that fact.
“You need to use respectful…language…”
It appeared Nainiae was at a loss for words. She didn’t know what to say, so instead, she was focusing on fiddling with her fingers.
Her slightly lowered head was showing signs of reflecting upon her mistake from the bottom of her heart.
Because Sera was sitting right next to Nainiae with almost no distance between them, and because Sera was looking at Nainiae from Nainiae’s left side, the side where she could not see Nainiae’s scars on her right, the expression on Sera’s face looked mesmerized.
‘One side of her face is normal at least.’
Her skin was whiter than milk.
According to Riley, Sera heard that Nainiae was subjected to all sorts of cruel experiments at the Magic Tower.
Right side of Nainiae’s face had scars, but other than that, Nainiae had a spotless, white and smooth skin. It was the kind that Sera, as a woman, could feel jealous about.
Nainiae was still fiddling with her fingers while giving a blank stare straight ahead, but she suddenly called Sera’s name.
The look on Sera’s face expressed that she was thinking this was unfair. While pouting, Sera was staring at Nainiae’s face from the side, and she was not able to hear Nainiae’s voice.
“Sera… No. I mean, Lady Sera, in the front…”
Nainiae raised her right hand, which was missing two fingers, and pointed its index finger toward something.
Because of Nainiae’s movement, Sera finally woke up from her useless thoughts and looked where Nainiae was pointing. Surprised, Sera quickly fixed her grip on the rein.
Sera had her guard down all this time because she was distracted by Nainiae’s face. Now, Sera’s eyes were open wide.
She had no idea since when the object was there, but there was a large boulder blocking the way.
Sera pulled the rein with all of her strength to change the carriage’s direction.
Horses turned their heads as they screamed with beastly neighs, but because of the rapid change in direction, the carriage was starting to tilt to the side.
Inside the carriage, Riley was holding Iris. Sera could hear his voice calling her name.
Ian stuck his face out toward the drivers’ seats and yelled at Sera,
If she corrected the tilted carriage, the carriage would collide with the boulder. On the other hand, if she changed the direction to avoid the boulder, the carriage would tilt over to the side.
Literally, it was the worst situation where all of the available options would lead to disastrous results.
It was when Sera was screaming.
Nainiae tightly grabbed hold of the drivers’ seats with her right hand, and she shouted a magic spell as she put forth her left hand toward the ground the carriage was tilting toward.
Right at the moment the carriage was about to flip over, Sera had her eyes tightly closed. However, as she realized there was no sound of crashing noise following after, she narrowly opened one of her eyes and looked at the ground that was almost at her nose.
On top of that, after noticing Nainiae’s arm obstructing the view in front of her face, Sera finally understood the situation.
She used magic, and thanks to that, the carriage did not flip over. It regained balance.
The carriage was about to kiss the ground, but then regained its balance thanks to Nainiae and made loud noises.
Another alarmed voice could be heard from inside of the carriage.
“Sera, the rein…”
“…Ah, got it.”
Thanks to the wind blowing from the direction where Nainiae had her arm directed toward, Sera barely regained her senses and grabbed hard on to the rein.
The carriage was tilting to the opposite side in order to regain its balance, and it produced yet another loud noise. Finally, the carriage was balanced successfully.
A cold sweat fell down riding on Sera’s cheek.
Nainiae’s magic tickled her face once more as if the wind was trying to wipe off the sweat from her face this time. Now, Sera finally sighed in relief.
‘That could have been a disaster.’
Feeling a terrifying glare from Ian on her back, Sera murmured like that inside and pouted. Nainaie asked,
“Are you o-…all right?”
Nainiae corrected her words. She was tilting her head to the sides. She was worried about Sera.
Before she realized, Sera’s cheeks were red. She started to mumble around.
Appearing to be bent on not making the same mistake twice, Sera had her gaze fixed to the front and held tightly on to the rein.
“That is… Sir Ian! I think Lady Sera might be ill…”
It appeared that Nainiae was worried. She had her head turned toward inside of the carriage, and she was about to call for Ian, but she was stopped before she could call him.
As Nainiae looked at Sera blushing, Nainiae tilted her head to the side with an expression on her face that questioned if Sera was really all right.
“Are you really alright?”
Of Nainiae’s face, which was full of concern for Sera from the bottom of her heart, Sera’s gaze went toward the right side of Nainiae’s face. Although it was for a brief moment, Sera ended up thinking how appalling it was, and that made her blush even more.
Nainiae was genuinely concerned about Sera, yet Sera was having such a thought in her head. Sera thought her own behavior was unacceptable, and she felt ashamed as well.
“…Yes!! I’m all right! I’m completely fine!”
Sera quickly turned her head and responded in a loud voice.
After visiting Solia to watch the King’s Swordsmanship Tournament for almost a week, having finally returned to the Iphelleta mansion, Riley came down from the carriage as he tapped his back.
“Uu, finally, we are home… Um?”
Having realized there were servants lined up left and right to welcome him, Riley made a dumbfounded face.
“What is it?”
“Welcome home, Young Master Riley.”
When Riley asked as he furrowed his brows, lined up servants bent their upper bodies all the way to bow and welcome Riley.
Some servants’ gazes had the, 'that Young Master Lazy Sword really did?' look.
‘Ah, I was wondering why, but is it because of that?’
Riley was wondering why the servants were acting like this, but soon he realized why. It was probably because of the medal of honor that he received from prince Daniel when he was at the Solia castle, which was in his pocket now.
When Riley was thinking carefully about the medal, he could hear a dignified voice in front of him.
At the same time, servants fixed their postures and lowered their heads slightly.
It was to pay respects to the master of the mansion.
Having discovered Stein approaching this way, Riley also slightly lowered his head and showed that he had returned to the mansion.
“I presume you enjoyed the tournament?”
Unlike the last time, when Stein insisted on Riley entering the tournament, Stein asked if Riley enjoyed watching the tournament.
Riley nodded as the replacement for a reply.
“…What about the medal?”
To confirm what he read in the news article, Stein went straight to asking about the main subject.
It was Solia Castle’s medal of honor, something even Ryan, the eldest, or Lloyd, the second eldest, had not managed to receive yet.
On top of that, it was a medal that the prince bestowed in person. It was unbelievable.
“It’s in my pocket.”
When Stein could only hear the response without the medal being shown, Stein narrowed his eyes and ordered Riley,
“Show it to me!”
Riley lightly breathed out and put his hand in his pocket.
It appeared there was something inside his pocket.
By the sound of something clanking inside his pocket, the servants of Iphelleta mansion, who were lined up and standing to watch, gulped.
From Riley’s pocket, the medal of honor, which was bestowed to him from Solia Castle, was revealed.
It was to recognize and show his accomplishments for uncovering the dirty secrets of the Magic Tower that were hidden for a long time and also for providing assistance to people of Solia Castle and Temple in ‘apprehending’ Astroa.
After seeing the medal, servants gasped.
One thing surprising about it was that Ryan and Lloyd’s servants were gasping more than the others.
“It was…not just a fluke, right?”
Stein asked as he looked at Riley.
Again, Riley leisurely shrugged his shoulder as a replacement for a response.
His looks were truly becoming of a nickname Lazy Sword.
“…You were out here.”
When Riley and Stein, the father and the son, were having a strange psychological warfare, from inside of the carriage, Iris’s voice could be heard.
“Anyway, you were worried about his well-being more than anything, yet… Your inability to be honest with yourself is a quirk of yours. Huhu.”
Following Riley, Iris also came down from the carriage. She was smiling with her lips covered by her hand.
Stein didn’t have many weak points, but now that one of them made an entrance to the scene, Stein groaned and cringed.
“Was it inconvenient to have just Sera and Ian?”
“Of course not. The two have fulfilled their roles well. They were more than enough.”
As Iris smiled and turned toward the back, Sera and Ian, who were waiting in the back, lowered their heads and paid their respects to Stein.
Also, having discovered a girl sitting next to them, Stein showed a question mark on his face.
“Who is that child?”
Not just Stein, but others of the House had their gazes focused on Nainiae. Their gazes were making her feel hesitant, and she lowered her head.
“It looks like there is much to talk about, so why don’t we have the rest after going inside?”
Iris gave a refreshing smile and looked at her son.
“Could you please go inside first with Nainiae?”
Riley nodded and gave a hand gesture toward Nainiae to come this way.
Nainiae looked like she was able to calm down a little from the young master’s gesture. She relaxed her face and carefully came close to his back.
After Nainiae came next to his back, Riley stopped walking for a moment and looked back at his mother.
It appeared that Riley was concerned about his mother after all.
‘You don’t need to worry. Your mother’s lips are heavy.’
The mother and the son had their eyes meet, and after quickly reading her son’s face, Iris winked.
Finally, Riley cracked a smile, relaxed his face, and was about to walk inside the mansion, but…
“…Oh, Riley? So you returned at last?”
At the entrance of the mansion, they ran into Lloyd, the second-born.
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