The month changed.
Riley was under a garden tree’s shadow and killing time. He murmured again,
He had said it so many times. Countless times.
“Ah… It’s too hot.”
Riley, who was lying all stretched out while leaning against the tree, moved his eyes after hearing someone’s voice calling for him.
“It will only feel hotter if you keep saying it is hot. How about you think of something else?”
It was Ian.
‘Look who’s talking. You are standing in the sun and sweating all over. How could you say that?’
Thinking that, Riley asked,
“Aren’t you hot?”
“If you change your attitude, it is possible to not feel hot…”
“Cut the nonsense.”
Riley furrowed his brows and interrupted Ian’s words.
It was summer.
It was the time period where the sunlight was at its hottest.
It was no use even if Riley surrounded his entire body with mana.
By the order of nature, it was still hot.
“It’s not like I’m mentally ill… It’s hot, so I should say it is hot. Am I supposed to say ‘Oh my! It’s so nice and cool?’ Should I?”
“Ugh. Young master. That is a problem for you. It’s because you are not moving. If you broke some sweat as a youth, you would actually welcome a hot weather like this…”
“Bullcrap! Do dogs have horns?”
As if he was trying to tell Ian to stop, Riley waved around his right arm.
Ian’s face and neck was covered with sweat.
If anyone were watching the two just to see who was going to collapse from heat exhaustion, it would probably been apparent that Ian was in danger of collapsing that way. It looked that serious.
“It’s a matter of mental power.”
As if he was trying not to lose, Ian said one more thing.
Riley’s eyebrows furrowed.
“Ian, by any chance, do you want to quit?”
“Haha. Have you forgotten who recommended me for this job? There is Lady Iris, so… I think you can set aside a worry like that.”
Riley tightly shut his eyes and cursed inside.
To Riley, who always got stretched out from the heat during summer, as if that wasn’t enough, Ian’s existence was about as annoying as cicada or mosquito. However, Ian was also someone who Riley would miss if Riley sent him away.
After barely managing to suppress his frustration, Riley called Ian,
Ian responded in a strong voice,
Unlike ordinary people that got worn out by the heat, Ian was the type that got stronger from it. He was an odd one like that.
Riley’s frustration, which he just suppressed, came right back up. Riley mumbled,
“You. You are really terrible at fanning. Did you know that?”
Having heard what Riley just said, Ian, who was diligently fanning Riley with a fan, stopped fanning.
“You are absolutely terrible.”
It seemed Riley realized that attack on Ian was effective. He said it once again.
In fact, Ian was bad at fanning. It was enough to add the adjective words, ‘absolute worst,’ to describe his fanning.
“If there is a talent called only picking warm air to fan, then you have a talent.”
There should be cool breeze here and there. However, somehow, Ian only generated warm wind. It was making Riley feel disgusted.
Riley’s internal gauge for discomfort had reached its maximum value. Riley pointed at Ian.
“Really… You are really bad at this…”
In the middle of the sentence, Riley got stretched out due to the heat.
Ian’s shoulders lost strength and lowered after hearing what Riley said.
From how Ian responded, it seemed that Ian was thinking he was pretty good at fanning.
During a summer day, it was not certain how long Riley and Ian were there stretched out like that.
It was a little after 2 p.m. Nainiae, who had just finished her work in the mansion, came to Riley. She rushed to be at his side. She even used ‘Blink,’ a Four Circles magic that enabled a short range teleportation.
“…Oh! You finished already?”
Riley, who was all stretched out, suddenly changed his attitude and welcomed Nainiae.
Having heard Riley’s question, Nainiae gave a refreshing smile and responded,
“Yes. I got things done as fast as I could because I figured you must be feeling hot.”
Her face was laced with sweat. That was the proof.
Nainiae, who rushed to finish her work and came right over to Riley, used her magic.
It was to cool Riley’s surroundings.
“First, I’ll vent the air.”
She used Ventilation magic.
It was a Five Circles magic that could cool the surrounding area's air. It could even clean the area’s air and mana.
She even used a lower level wind magic to generate cool breeze toward her young master. Having finished all that, Nainiae looked at Riley with a concerned face.
“…Ah… I feel like I could live again.”
Riley stretched out again, but this time, in a different pose.
It felt like even his clothes, which were soaked with sweat, were being cleaned.
It made Riley smile.
When Nainiae carefully asked, Riley mumbled with a face full of contentment,
“Yes. It’s good. It’s perfect.”
Nainiae sighed in relief.
On the contrary, the look on Ian’s face was not looking good.
“Young master, excuse me… I worked hard today.”
“Ah, is that so?”
To Nainiae, Riley gestured as if he was trying to tell her to come to him.
As if she was waiting for it, like a little puppy, Nainiae approached Riley and carefully leaned her head toward Riley.
“You have done well again today.”
Riley gently patted Nainiae’s head in a natural motion.
How Riley was leisurely patting Nainiae…
The blushing look on Nainiae’s face as she smiled…
The scene looked very natural as if it had happened before.
“Young master, can’t you say things like that to me too?”
Ian was glaring at Nainiae. Ian’s gaze was full of jealousy.
Instead of an old man, Ian looked more like a child.
Having seen the look on Ian’s face, Riley also said to Ian, as if he was trying to say that he was giving in.
“All right. Ian, you worked hard too.”
Ian had a look on his face. It looked as if he was protesting for a wrong that was done to him. Ian asked Riley,
“Somehow… The tone is different, don’t you think?”
“I think it’s the same. Why are you asking?”
Riley, who mumbled as if he was thinking it was all nonsense, leaned against the tree again.
He never thought it would be this nice to not worry about the heat anymore, thanks to Nainiae.
“Um. As I thought. A mage is the best.”
Riley unintentionally said it.
Having heard it, Ian brought out a handkerchief and started to wipe off the tears in his eyes.
“Come on. Mr. Ian. Don’t cry. It’s nothing.”
It was at the mansion’s corridor.
Ian was sniffling due to his runny nose. Sera, who was walking with Ian, was lulling Ian as if he was a child.
“Young master doesn’t want… kuhup… me to be his…”
“It’s just because of the heat. You know how he becomes irritable like that every summer.”
“I’m crying because I’m not sure if I should be happy or sad. He had been studying recently…but he isn’t studying about swords. He is studying about magic.”
Sera sighed as she shook her head.
Ian, who barely managed to stop crying after sniffling several times, asked Sera about Nainiae,
“So, how is she?”
“You mean Nainiae?”
Ian nodded when Sera asked back.
“Well, lately, she is not doing so bad. Actually, I could even say that she is doing a lot better.”
“Better? For instance?”
“In the past, because of the scars on her face, people all clicked their tongues when they had their eyes met with Nainiae, but nowadays, how should I say this, things are completely different?”
“As Lady Iris said, she is diligent at her work.”
As Iris said, Nainiae was working diligently as a maid.
“There are many people that are looking at Nainiae positively. Although she is a Six Circles mage, she doesn’t use tricks or try to cut corners. Also, we can see that she is working very hard for our young master, so…”
Ian couldn’t talk back because they were all true.
Feeling a sense of rivalry, Ian cringed.
Having noticed his face, Sera, with a mischievous look on her face, mumbled,
“Did you know? Nainiae is quite popular.”
“Terry asked this last time.”
“What did Terry ask?”
Of all the butlers in Iphelleta mansion, he was one of the younger butlers.
“He asked how old Nainiae was.”
Having heard what Sera said, Ian’s bad habit popped out.
“Hey! Mr. Ian!”
In panic, Sera quickly turned around and looked at Ian.
Having realized his mistake, Ian covered his mouth with his hand.
Fortunately, there wasn’t anyone, Stein for instance, passing by there.
“Come on. He was probably just wondering how old she was. It didn’t have that kind of atmosphere.”
Ian, who just put down the hand he was using to cover his mouth, glared at Sera’s face as if he was going to punch a hole through her with his gaze.
Having noticed this, Sera looked away and mumbled,
“That is, you know? As I said earlier, Nainiae is quite popular. There are still a few people that avoid her because of her scar and missing fingers, but we know that people will get to realize she is a good kid once they get to have a conversation with her. That is why everyone!”
Sera, who sighed because of Ian’s mood, declared surrender as if she had no other options.
“Ugh. I got it.”
“I know Nainiae is a kind child. Even Lady Iris said so. It would be fine to say it is proven. I was actually feeling quite proud for her when I heard that she was acknowledged by the Count.”
Ian continued, after directing his gaze to the front.
Ian was also well aware that Nainiae was a good child.
However… No matter how much he hated mages, Ian still knew how to separate private and business matters.
“It is just that… People shouldn’t go too easy on her. It has not been long since she started serving our young master. Having an atmosphere like this could actually have negative influence on her.”
‘She could get complacent and become overconfident.’
Ian was thinking that. It was because one could never tell how and when a person could have a change of heart.
Ian, who was betrayed by someone he trusted in the past, was painfully well aware of this.
“If she intends to continue to serve Young Master Riley…”
Therefore, Ian made up his mind to be very strict toward Nainiae.
Even if everyone else around her went easy on her, he was going to watch her with strict standards.
It was because,
“…she needs to do it right. I don’t know how much longer I will be able to serve young master.”
It was because he was hoping that Nainiae would take on the role when Ian was gone.
“Come on! Don’t say things like that.”
Having noticed the sadness in Ian’s expression, Sera bumped the old butler’s arm with her elbow.
“By the way, Mr. Ian. Still, Nainiae had many hardships and scars. I think this much is fine…” [TL: I have no idea what she is talking about here. Is she talking about Terry the butler? Or is she talking about people being nice to Nainiae?]
“Sera! Can’t you be mindful of the atmosphere!”
“Ah, I got it! Come on, Mr. Ian. Gosh!”
The face, which was all red and complementing Nainiae, was now yelling in anger.
Sera promptly ran away with a suppressed laughter.
“…I gave it a serious thought, and…”
It was dinner time.
In a place where the five people who were with Riley during his trip to Solia Castle, Riley spoke.
“As I thought, I think I’ll have to go there again this year.”
Having heard what Riley just said at the dinner table, Iris, with a question mark floating up above her head, asked.
“Are you talking about Rainfield?”
Having heard his nonchalant response, Sera smiled with a suppressed laughter. Meanwhile, Ian’s face was gradually turning into a face full of pain.
Perhaps because this was the first time she heard about it, Nainiae was the only one tilting her head side to side.
“We went there every year. It’s not like we have a reason for not being able to go.”
“Still, I figured you won’t go this year because of Nainiae.”
Having heard what Riley just said about having been there every year, Sera shrugged her shoulders and mumbled.
“I think I’ll dry up and die during the morning and afternoon. It’s shortening my lifespan.”
By the sound of Riley complaining out loud with no intention of hiding it, Ian flinched as if he just got shot by an arrow right on his chest.
“Y-Young master. There are some bad rumors about Rainfield this year, so… I think it would be best if you just stayed in the mansion.”
Ian, who struggled and smiled, said it to convince Riley.
“Come on. You have been telling me to stop being so lazy and do something outside of the mansion, but why are you always like that during the summer? Why can’t you be consistent? Huh?”
Riley said as he pointed toward Ian with a fork.
Ian, who didn’t have anything in particular to say in response, looked at Iris for help.
“If it is Rainfield, won’t that be all right? As Riley said, we have been going there every year.”
Ian explained as he made a tight fist.
“You can’t break sweat in youth in Rainfield!”
Riley, who was pointing at Ian with a fork, stared at Ian as if he was staring at a lunatic.
Riley was wondering if there really was a dumbass that enjoyed heat, and today, it seemed like he discovered that dumbass.
“Excuse me. Ms. Sera. If it is Rainfield… Is it the Rainfield that I know of?”
Nainiae, who was looking at each of the three people having a conversation, quietly went next to Sera and asked carefully.
“Yes. It is.”
It was a name of a city that was different from Solia.
According to a survey, it was the top-rated city for people wanting to go on a vacation during summer.