“Excuse me, young master.”
Nainiae was fiddling with Astroa’s belongings on the table, but she looked at Riley, who was lying down on the sofa with his legs dangling around, and asked,
“Before I start, I wanna ask you somethin’.”
Nainiae was about to teach Riley the basics of magic, but there was one thing that floated up in her mind that made her curious. To resolve this curiosity, she asked the question.
So far, she was barely managing to adjust her language to the respectful tone. She was feeling complicated, so she started to spit out crude language again.
‘Why did he choose me of all people?’
Nainiae’s question was rather vague. Riley couldn’t quite figure out the reason behind her question. He tilted his head to the side to show that he needed additional explanation.
With her voice lacking in confidence, Nainiae provided supplementary explanation.
“I may have reached the Six Circles magic at a young age, but it was through the use of experimental drugs… Even if you claimed my magic mastery as my strong suit, I have not learned the magic through proper training, so, unlike other, proper mages, it will be difficult for me to teach someone efficiently. Also…”
‘Also, I don’t have the face that’s suitable for a teacher.’
Still, Nainiae was an 18 years old girl. Instead of saying it, she swallowed those words back down and grabbed on tightly on the folds of her skirt.
“Back in Solia Castle, if you spared my life just to learn magic from me, you don’t have to choose me. You can learn it from someone else…”
It was not certain if Riley knew this, but Nainiae’s life was limited to this autumn.
That was the reason why she thought it would be more efficient for him to find someone else if he was looking for a teacher to give him lessons in magic. It was the logical choice no matter how she looked at it.
In the end, Nainiae was wondering why Riley chose her instead of other accomplished mages when Nainiae had a horrid face and numbered lifespan.
“Um… Do I need to tell you?”
Riley was scratching the back of his head. He looked at Nainiae and asked back.
Nainiae was facing an expression that said all this was such a bother. Having looked at Riley’s face, she pursed her mouth.
Nainiae finally realized she was using crass language. She shook her head and replied in respectful language,
“Ah… There is no need for you to explain, young master. It’s not absolutely necessary. There is no need for you to tell me…”
Her voice sounded like she could collapse at an instant.
Nainiae was looking for a goal or meaning in her life before her death. She decided to invest the remaining time she had in Riley, the one who sought her out and asked her to teach him magic.
That was the reason why Nainiae was standing here at this moment.
She was intending to do as she was told.
If Riley praised her for her efforts, then that would have made her happier.
‘Things like reasons are irrelevant.’
Nainiae recalled the words Riley said to her on a certain morning back in Solia.
Back then, Nainiae asked Riley what was the reason why Nainiae was never acknowledged or rewarded for her efforts when she did her best to live up to others’ expectations and requests. Recalling Riley’s answer and his solution, Nainiae was agonizing over them.
‘I…need to take a step back and watch…’
Riley told her that.
She was not sure what the true intent of Riley’s answer was.
She just thought that the only thing she could do now was doing exactly that and watching Riley from a step behind him.
This was the reason why she made up her mind to give up her life of her own and give her everything to Riley so willingly. Back then, she made up her mind to help him and teach him magic as he wished, and that was the reason.
“…Actually, there is a rascal that is better suited for teaching magic, but…”
Riley was keeping silence until now, but he finally opened his mouth.
Having heard his words, Nainiae woke up from her useless thoughts.
“I have a friend I had been in communication for quite a while. When it comes to giving magic lessons, that rascal would be better suited for the job than you are. That friend has heavier mouth than you as well.”
“Young master, I…”
She had no idea who this ‘rascal friend’ was. She was about to say her lips are just as heavy, but she blurred the end of her sentence.
It was because she thought about her other shortcomings that could not be made up for with just that.
“But the problem is…”
Watching Nainiae’s disappointed face, Riley cracked a smile and continued as he dangled his legs on the armrest of the sofa.
“That rascal essentially said ‘over my dead body,’ and stubbornly refused.”
Nainiae gave a vacant stare to Riley.
With a leisurely expression on his face, Riley was swinging his legs. He continued his explanation with a look on his face that said he found the friend’s reasoning to be so ridiculous.
“I tried asking. I did, but…that runt said this, ‘Hey! You are already a master swordsman. If you learned magic too on top of that… Are you scheming to take over the world or something?’ and sounded really annoyed.”
“I told that rascal I’m too lazy to do something like that, but that runt told me to stop with the bullcrap.”
It appeared he was pretty close with this friend.
Riley was making suppressed laughing noise as he mumbled about the past conversations. The corners of his lips were tilted up. There was a smile drawn on his face.
Because the one she was serving was smiling, it was making her feel excited too.
Riley noticed Nainiae was relaxing her face. He got up and sat on the sofa and continued explaining to Nainiae.
“Well, that probably wasn’t enough to explain why I chose you, but I do have a specific reason.”
“It is not going to be all that pleasant to learn about it, so, what I’m saying is, let’s just skip over it. You understand, right?”
Nainiae noticed that the look in Riley’s eyes showed emotion for a brief moment. She stopped asking. Instead, she lowered her head.
She figured that she would learn the real reason when the time came.
Even if Riley was not going to tell her, she felt that it was only right for her to figure it out on her own.
When it came to test questions, instead of looking at the answer on the supplementary section or the back, working hard to find the answer on your own was far more beneficial.
“All right. Then what shall we start with? From what I heard, the very first magic you learn is ‘Light,’ the First Circle magic’s light element type spell?”
Coming back to the main subject, in order to start the magic lesson, Riley clapped his hands together once and asked Nainiae, the one who became a teacher, although it was for a brief moment.
“Yes. I was going to explain things assuming you are already skilled in controlling mana… Is that all right with you?”
A swordsman used it to increase the sword’s power.
An assassin used it to hide one’s presence.
An archer used it to increase the piercing power of the arrow.
A summoner used it to summon spirits.
A mage used it to cast magic.
Nainiae was asking if Riley knew how to handle the resource required for a skilled practitioner of a discipline.
Riley picked up a feather pen that was rolling around on top of the table and picked up a piece of blank paper that was rolling around on the floor.
Riley brushed the paper with the feathered portion of the pen.
After a moment, the part of the paper where the feather just brushed through was cut clean as if a knife went through it.
The cut paper fell to the floor as if it was a falling leaf during autumn. Nainiae nodded as if she understood. She continued,
“To use magic, first, you need something called a Circle. It is an act of weaving mana and making a link to the heart. If you can make one link to the heart, that’s One Circle. If you can make Six, then that’s Six Circles.”
“So, that means you have Six, right?”
Nainiae nodded and raised her palm to the front.
It was to demonstrate ‘Light,’ the basic magic that Riley was going to learn and use first.
Once she recited the spell, a sphere floated up on top of her white palm.
The way it gradually materialized looked like a firefly except that the color was tainted in dark color because of the side effect from the drug experiments that was done on her.
“This is the Light magic that all mages learn as the basic spell. It’s a magic where you float up a light sphere on top of your palm. It demonstrates the miracle of suspending something in mid air or making something materialize in an empty space. Literally, it is the basics of the magic.”
Nainiae explained that all other magic starts with mastering the Light spell. She gave the simplest example.
“The most famous one you can advance to from this spell would be…a Fireball.”
“Yes. You probably have seen it before.”
Nainiae placed the light sphere on her hand a little further away from her and started to spin the mana circle that was clumped near her heart.
“I’ll show it to you step by step. How should I explain this… Ah, first, have the Light magic float on your hand, change the mana according to the formula and inject it into the sphere. That’s how it feels. Like this.”
Once she finished her explanation, the dark colored firefly light started to burn with a noise like a flame. It grew in size and became a complete ‘Fireball.’
As a small light sphere became a large lump of flame, Riley’s eyes opened wide.
It felt really mysterious.
Perhaps it was because the entire process was explained and then demonstrated, but it felt different from how it was when he experienced them in Solia.
“To be able to use Light magic, first…”
Nainiae opened her mouth as she extinguished the flame on top of her palm. It was because there was something Riley had to know as the basic before being able to use Light magic.
“…Young master, I need to know your elemental type.”
“Yes. Elemental type. Fire, water, wind, earth… and among many others, you need to start with knowledge of your elemental type so you can learn Light magic method that fits your elemental type. You have to know it so you can also obtain more Circles efficiently. How should I say this… It’s like saying you need to have a strong foundation.”
Riley was tilting his head to the sides as he listened to Nainiae’s explanation about elemental type.
“What’s your elemental type?”
“I don’t have one in particular that fits me.”
“You don’t have one?”
“That’s right. My affinity toward all elements were generally measured to be high, so they mostly fit me regardless of the element. That’s why I don’t have an elemental type in particular.”
With a scrunched face, Riley glared at Nainiae as if she was an eyesore.
“Are you showing off?”
“No. This is all because of the experiments in the Magic Tower… I wasn’t trying to boast about it. I’m sorry.”
Her affinities were high toward all elements because of the experiments in the Magic Tower. It was a result that was accomplished because of a substantial luck. However, unlike other mages, her mana was depleted faster, and there was also the negative side effect of cutting down her lifespan. In the end, it was not possible to call it a positive result.
“I got it. Got it. I won’t ask anymore, so please… Enough with that depressed look.”
Riley clicked his tongue and continued,
“So, how do I find out? This elemental type?”
“We need a tool… By chance, do you have a mana measurement sphere in this mansion?”
When she mentioned the mana measurement sphere, the one he saw at the Magic Tower’s first floor, Riley gave a blank stare for a moment.
“No. There isn’t any.”
There was no reason for such a thing to be in the nobility House of proud swordsmen lineage.
When Riley shook his head and answered, Nainiae asked,
“In that case, have you been measured?”
“Yes, I have…”
Back then, because he didn’t want to reveal his mana capacity at such an official place, he intentionally tricked the sphere into giving an ordinary result. This was the reason why he blurred the end of the sentence.
“That is… I didn’t do a proper measurement.”
“In that case…”
Not sure of what to do, Nainiae looked at Riley with a concerned face.
It was because she could not start teaching him without a clear measurement result.
She was teaching magic to her young master that she served. She had no intention of going about this haphazardly. She started to think hard about it.
“In that case, we should go back to the Magic Tower and…”
“No. We shouldn’t.”
‘Getting the mana measured again by going to the Magic Tower?’
Riley cut down the idea in an instant.
In Magic Tower, there were Peruda and others watching. Also, above all, it was such a bother to him.
He came back just two days ago. The thought of going all the way back to Solia made him cringe.
“…Now that it has come to this…”
Riley got up from the sofa and scratched the back of his head.
“Tomorrow, I think I’ll have to stop by at Iffa village.”
“I have to go to find out about those things anyway. Also, there is something else, personal, that I need to check, so… I think it actually turned out well.”
Nainiae looked at Astroa’s belongings that were packed up.
Meanwhile, Riley stretched widely by bending his upper body backward as he made ‘Uu!’ noise.
“Tell Sera in advance that it looks like you will have to ditch the maid training tomorrow.”
“I’m saying you need to clear your schedule for tomorrow.”
He figured he could go and check if the matter he left behind was cleaned up properly.
He figured he could go check what Astroa’s belongings are for.
He also figured he could go see that rascal as well.
So, Riley decided to set foot in Iffa village again, a place he hadn’t visited in a long while.