“Instead of standing there, please come and have a seat.”
Iris got up from her seat and recommended a seat for Rebethra.
Accepting her generosity, Rebethra sat down.
Iris was reaching for a fork on the table, but she asked as she lowered her head,
“Have you had dinner?”
“No. It’s embarrassing…but looks like I’ll have to be in your debt.”
“Actually, I’m glad you haven’t had dinner yet. I would have been disappointed if I didn’t get to have you eat dinner with us. Nainiae?”
Iris called Nainiae, who was standing in the back, and asked for a serving of dinner for Rebethra.
“Yes, Lady Iris.”
Nainiae bowed and received her order.
Nainiae left for the kitchen for a moment.
Impressed by the politeness that Nainiae just displayed, Rebethra said,
“Oh my… Ms. Nainiae became a maid in Iphelleta House. Even though I’m seeing it with my own eyes, I still cannot believe it.”
“She is a nice child. She is diligent too.”
“Right now, is she serving Young Master Riley?”
“Yes. It turned out that way.”
Rebethra was a famous archbishop from Solia Temple.
Even Annabelle knew of him well.
‘He said Ms. Nainiae? He is an archbishop, but he called her with respect like that?’
It did not appear to be out of his polite mannerism. How he greeted Nainiae was too proper and respectful.
While Annabelle was in a deep thought with a vacant stare, Rebethra turned his head and asked Iris,
“Excuse me for asking this so late. Who is this young lady?”
“She is the fiancée of our Young Master Ryan. She is a daughter of Marquis Mogared’s family. Please introduce yourselves. This is Archbishop Rebethra from the Solia Holy Temple.”
“Ah, it’s you, Ms. Annabelle!”
Having heard what Iris said, Rebethra opened his eyes wide and started to compliment Annabelle’s good looks. It seemed he have heard rumors about her.
“I kept hearing rumors that you are beautiful… It seems the rumors I have heard didn’t do justice.”
“Not at all. That’s too much of a compliment.”
They exchanged greetings briefly.
Afterwards, Annabelle had her gaze toward her dish, but she turned her head and looked at Rebethra.
It was because this did not make sense to her no matter how much she thought about it.
“Why are you…using respectful language toward that maid?”
Annabelle had an anxious look on her face as she asked carefully.
Having heard her question, a question mark floated above Rebethra’s head. He asked Annabelle,
“What do you mean? Why do you ask?”
Rebethra turned his head to look at Iris and Riley.
Riley looked like he was not interested in the conversation. He was focused on enjoying his meal.
As for Iris, she only had an awkward look on her face.
“By any chance, are the people of this mansion unaware of it?”
Having heard Rebethra’s question, Iris blurred the end of her sentence. She agonized over what to tell him. Eventually, she said with a slightly embarrassed smile,
“Yes. I totally forgot about explaining that.”
“Pardon me… Just what are you…”
Annabelle revealed to everyone that she was anxious. She was not able to take it anymore, so she butted into their conversation.
She was well aware that it was quite rude, but the situation was such that it was difficult for her to assess what was happening.
“Here. I brought your meal.”
Soon thereafter, Nainiae, who went to the kitchen, returned to the dining room and laid down the dish for Rebethra. Nainiae returned to standing behind Riley.
“Ah, thank you, Ms. Nainiae.”
Again, Rebethra spoke to Nainiae in respectful tone.
Annabelle was not touching her food. Instead, she had a confused look on her face. Noticing this, Rebethra, who picked up a piece of food with a fork, said,
“You asked why I’m using respectful language towards Ms. Nainiae, right?”
After Annabelle’s response, Rebethra took a moment to look at how Nainiae was doing.
“That is because Ms. Nainiae…”
After observing how Nainiae was standing behind Riley, Rebethra concluded that it would be all right for him to explain it. He continued,
“...is the Six Circles mage that played a big role in stopping Astroa during the incident last time in Lower Solia.”
The fork that Annabelle held was dropped to the plate and made a loud noise.
It was revealed that the maid that was hired in the mansion recently was a Six Circles mage.
Of course… The entire mansion was turned upside down.
It was at Stein’s office.
There were three people there to have a conversation. Needless to say, the atmosphere was pretty odd.
Stein called for Riley and the maid that served him. Facing the two in front of him, Stein held his palm on his forehead and rubbed it. It looked like he was having a headache.
“I think an explanation is due. How did it all come to this?”
“About that… What you have heard is everything. There’s nothing more to explain.”
Riley scratched his cheek in a leisurely manner. Watching Riley doing this, Stein moved his hand from his forehead to his eye.
“I heard you heard from Ian?”
“I heard that she is a mage. I didn’t hear that she is a Six Circles mage!”
Stein slammed the desk with his fist and threw a hissy fit.
Having noticed the look on his father’s face, Riley’s shoulders flinched. Right after that, Riley smiled like a good natured human being and put forth his palm.
“I have no talent for explaining things. Still, I can roughly answer your questions.”
Stein was well aware of this about his youngest son. Stein clicked his tongue and sighed. It looked like he was thinking this could not be helped. He asked the first question,
“I’ll ask first. Is she really…”
He asked as he looked at Nainiae, who was standing next to Riley.
“…a Six Circles mage?”
Riley answered promptly.
This was better than showing him her magic since Stein didn’t know much about magic. Stein was not going to be able to tell the differences between Five, Six or Seven Circles magic spells.
“If that is the case, then why?”
Stein asked as he glared at Nainiae. He looked like he was about to punch a hole through her with his gaze.
‘What is she doing here if she is a Six Circles mage?’
“Why are you serving Riley as a maid? You don’t have to do this.”
She was a Six Circles mage. If the word got out, people from cities everywhere would be all over her and begging her to be their city’s mage.
After all, a Six Circles mage was considered as powerful as someone classified as a grand mage.
She appeared to be in her teens, so she had a bright future ahead. That’s what Stein was thinking.
“Iris told me not to scold her too much. Iris said she is a kind child. However, what I’m about to ask is a different matter. She could be a spy or have some other intent for coming to this mansion. Do you understand?”
Stein was the master of the Iphelleta House.
His reaction was understandable.
He had to consider the possibility, and the situation warranted such a concern.
“Yes, well… That makes sense.”
Stein had a serious look in his eyes.
Meanwhile, in front of Stein, Riley scratched his hair.
Riley’s response was so dense and nonchalant. It was making the person watching this to feel overcome with a sense of futility.
Stein felt like he was going to explode from frustration if he stared at Riley any longer.
In the end, he decided to turn his gaze away from Riley. Now, he started to stare at Nainiae as if he was going to punch a hole through her with his gaze.
“I presume there is no need for me to address you with a respectful language. Is that right? After all, you voluntarily became Riley’s maid.”
Nainiae gently lowered her head to express respect toward Stein.
“I’ll ask. You are a Six Circles mage. Why are you doing this then?”
Having heard the question, Nainie was hesitant to answer. She held her lips closed.
It appeared she was thoroughly considering what to say because she could not afford to respond so carelessly.
“You had a big role in apprehending Astroa in Solia… You are in a very good position to be treated accordingly for your exploit. Why are you working as a maid instead? You even hid your true identity as well. For what?”
Having heard additional questions by Stein, Nainiae carefully shook her head and opened her mouth.
“I was not trying to hide it.”
“You were not?”
“It is just that I forgot to tell everyone.”
It was true.
Ever since Nainiae came to the mansion, she was extremely busy.
Ever since she started to work as a maid and even had the swordsmanship training, she felt like having two of her was not going to be enough.
She was actually really busy, but despite that, she never complained.
If anyone were to ask why, it was because,
“I like the diligent lifestyle in the mansion and working while breaking sweat as a maid. If you are asking why I’m working as a maid, that’s all there is to it.”
It was because she felt like she regained something that she lost when she was at the Magic Tower.
Stein steadily gazed upon Nainiae’s eye.
His gaze was as expected of the master of Iphelleta House.
It felt like you could get sliced just by meeting his gaze. His gaze was sharp like that.
However, Nainiae was no pushover.
Stein was glaring at her as if he was going to punch a hole through her with his gaze, but she didn’t even flinch. Instead, she only looked right back at him.
She was standing her ground proudly.
In a corner of her mind, she also had her pride as Riley’s maid.
“All right. Fine.”
People say that there are instances where a simple exchange of gazes is far more effective than a thousand words.
This was one of those.
Stein didn’t let it show, but he was actually impressed by Nainiae’s gaze. Soon thereafter, he asked the third question,
“I heard you followed Riley from Solia. Is that right?”
It was the truth, so there was no need to hide it.
So, Nainiae responded right away.
“How much did you know about Riley?”
Riley felt that the conversation was going off the tangent to the wrong place. Riley furrowed his brows.
Stein raised his right hand and made Riley to close his mouth. Stein continued to stare at Nainiae’s eyes.
“I’m aware that the rumors…are not good.”
Although Riley received a medal of honor from Solia Castle recently, even now, the rumors about Riley were mostly bad.
Because of how Riley had been behaving until now, the Lazy Sword trademark stamped on him was still firmly stuck there.
His reputation as the Lazy Sword had not left Riley.
“What do you think of Riley?”
“You are a maid that serves Riley, so I would like to hear your thoughts.”
It was an unexpected question.
Nainiae had a blank look on her face for a moment, but she soon had a refreshing smile on her face.
Meanwhile, Stein was looking at Nainiae’s face, and he got a glimpse of her scar through her hair. Having noticed her scars, Stein narrowed his eyes.
“He is a good man.”
Riley bumped Nainiae with his elbow.
“He is very kind, a lot more than how others know him as. Also…”
Riley kept on bumping Nainiae with his elbow.
Nainiae moved her eye toward Riley and noticed Riley’s face. He was warning her with the look on his face. Riley didn’t want her to say anything more. As if she figured she can’t do this anymore, she smiled awkwardly and quickly stopped talking.
“Until the day my life runs out… I think I will have no regrets even if I served him until that day.”
No. It could be up to the summer.
She didn’t have much time left, and she was going to spend it for Riley’s sake.
By doing so, she wanted to find the meaning of her life.
She mumbled those thoughts in her mind.
Stein didn’t know about Nainiae’s remaining lifespan.
However… It looked like he understood the sincerity in her gaze.
The corner of Stein’s lips was slightly tilted up. That was the proof.
Stein smiled widely and asked,
“I see. Did Ian make your life miserable?”
‘As expected, they are father and son.’
Nainiae noticed that Stein’s smile was similar to Riley’s. Having watched it, Nainiae had a vacant look on her face for the moment. She said,
“That friend of mine doesn’t like mages very much. I think there will be many instances of quarrels with him. What do you think? Won’t that be of an inconvenience to you?”
Riley quietly turned his head away and started to laugh.
It was because Ian could get detached from Riley as his servant depending on Nainiae’s response.
“N-No! Mr. Ian is actually looking after me in many ways. He is teaching me so I won’t make mistakes. He is being strict for that purpose, so no, not at all.”
Nainiae’s face was a little red. She looked a little embarrassed.
She was like that because, based on the flow of the conversation, she felt like Stein acknowledged her.
“Is that so? Well then…”
Stein slowly turned his eyes and looked at Riley.
Riley, who stood there with a nonchalant look, met his father’s eyes.
“Continue to…take good care of Riley.”
Stein finished the conversation and tilted his head to gesture that they could go now.
“Well then, I’ll be going now.”
Riley turned around first and escaped the room.
Nainiae stood there with a blank look on her face. She regained her senses and bowed all the way down toward Stein.
It was an excessively large motion for a bow. It looked like she completely forgot the body posture education she received from Sera or Ian. Still, Stein didn’t mind it much.
“I’ll… I’ll try hard.”
Nainiae straightened her back. Because she felt like she was acknowledged, her face was quite red. It showed she was feeling very happy like nothing could top this.
Nainiae quickly tumbled her way out of the room to follow Riley.
Stein was now left alone in the room. He started tapping the finger he had on the desk.
“A Six Circles mage…”
‘How did my youngest son, who I had no hopes or expectations for, ended up having someone with such a talent working for him?’
Stein was still tapping the desk with his finger. Before he realized, he had a satisfied smile on his face