It was a little after early morning.
Andal, who was asleep in his personal space under the pub’s changing room, was forced awake and made to stand in front of the pub by Riley. Riley had only one request to Andal.
“…You crazy rascal.”
Andal, who didn’t even manage to get rid of eye boogers, first started to pour out curses and swears after seeing the carriage that was stopped in front of the pub.
“…You dumbass rascal.”
Andal was annoyed all the way to the tip of his head. His curses and swears were sincerely coming from the bottom of his heart.
“Hey. Andal… What’s so difficult about using Teleport for us? What’s all this complaining about? It’s a piece of cake for you, isn’t it?”
Riley asked as he laughed mischievously.
With his face completely crumpled, Andal created a red hot flame on top of his palm and said,
“Hey you, god damn it. If you were sleeping comfortably but someone came and woke you up and told you, ‘Hey, chew on this cake!’ Would you feel great about that?”
“That would be the worst.”
Andal promptly threw the fireball at Riley and shouted,
“Then don’t pester a red dragon to buy you a cake!”
Riley pressed down Nainiae’s head and also lowered his body to barely dodge the fireball that was coming right at them.
The lump of flame that Riley dodged collided with a tree in front of the pub and started a fire.
“Ugh! You piss me off! You are fucking good at dodging!”
“Just where did you learn that kind of language?”
“From a granny who is a regular at the pub. Why?”
“I don’t know who is the dumbass here…”
Although there was a loud ruckus happening right at that instant, the people of Iffa village didn’t even come out of their homes to check it out. Instead, it appeared they were still enjoying sleep through the morning.
It was probably Andal’s doing.
“Ao…” [TL: I have no idea what was meant to be said here. That’s what it sounds like, and it is implied that the word was interrupted. It might be just a Korean variation of “ugh,” although I have never seen it before. Perhaps it is name of a spell?]
“I got it. I got it. I’ll pay you back later for this favor, all right?”
Watching Andal complaining and grinding his teeth, Riley started to laugh again mischievously.
Riley, who took a glance at Nainiae as he had a small quarrel with his friend, moved his eyes to direct toward the tree that was on fire.
“Yes. I understand.”
Although Riley didn’t say it in words, Nainiae, who figured out what he meant, carefully walked toward it and used water magic on the tree.
Nainiae was calmly suppressing the fire.
Andal, who was watching Nainiae’s ‘black colored’ water magic, narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms. [TL: In some chapters, the author says Nainiae’s magic has gray color, not black.]
“I’ll shoot a Teleport magic. So, as a debt…”
Andal continued as he pointed at the back of Nainiae who was suppressing the fire,
“Give her to me.”
“Andal. I have been telling you for a long time now. If you want to enjoy your amusement trip, you need to ease up on your tendency to treat people like objects. Also…”
Riley’s tone toward Andal said he found the proposition to be ridiculous. Riley soon shook his head and refused.
“I can’t give her to you. I’m going to use her as air conditioner during summer and a space heater during the winter.”
Riley responded while putting up a high and mighty pose.
Andal looked at Riley as if he was looking at a weirdo. Andal asked,
“What the hell is an air conditioner? What’s a space heater?”
“There are things like that. Anyway, I’m telling you that I won’t give her to you.”
Having heard the response, Andal proposed something even more appealing,
“In that case, how about this? I have a guardian who’s quite useful. She has higher number of Circles than that lass, and she is very diligent at work too. She is a spirit type who lacks emotion, so she would be substantially more efficient at other tasks as well.”
Andal was talking about a guardian that he had in his cave connected to the basement of his pub. This guardian was among the best. Andal was making a proposition to exchange the guardian with Nainiae.
“Did you say she has higher number of Circles than Nainiae?”
Riley, with an intrigued face, looked at Andal.
Andal shrugged his shoulder and nodded in a pleasant mood. He thought an agreement was about to be reached.
“I’m not a human, so I don’t know much about your kind’s preferences, but I can proudly say that she is far prettier than Nainiae. Do you want me to show her to you?”
With just a hand wave, Andal created a mirror in midair and asked. Riley cringed and pushed away the mirror.
“Hey. No thanks. Do I look like I would decide things based on just the appearance?”
“So, you are saying that she is more skilled than Nainiae?”
Riley asked after moving the mirror away. Having heard the question, Andal nodded and explained more about the guardian he mentioned.
“That’s right. If she pushed herself to the limit, it is possible for her to use up to Eight Circles magic. She is an artificial spirit of the spirit king types. Because she is an artificial spirit, she doesn’t have a specific innate type. She’s very useful, I’m telling ya?”
“Is that so?”
Nainiae, who almost finished putting off the fire, even prepared a Plant magic to raise the collapsed tree back up.
Root-like things grew from black colored buds and carefully surrounded the tree that was split. The roots started to slowly raise up the tree.
Andal asked Riley again as he poked Riley with his elbow.
It seemed Riley was thinking hard about this for a while.
Riley had the same look on his face since a while ago. Soon, Riley shook his head firmly and responded,
It appeared that the answer was already decided before the proposition was made.
It looked like Riley was intrigued, but the response that came back to Andal was still ‘no.’
Andal stared at Riley with a look on his face that said he doesn’t understand Riley’s thoughts.
“That girl… She has a part that’s similar to me. It doesn’t feel right to hand her over to someone else. That’s why.”
A similar part… To be precise, Riley was talking about himself from his past life.
“Similar to you?”
Looking at Riley mumbling with a look on his face that Andal have never seen on Riley before, Andal suddenly…
Andal suddenly laughed as he blocked his mouth with his hand.
On the other hand, Riley’s face was crumpled.
“What the hell?”
“Hey, that’s a nonsense… As you can see there, your servant is so diligent. What about you? You are here because you find it to be too much of a bother to go to Rainfield on a carriage. You are here throwing a tantrum at a dragon after waking him up from his sleep just to ask him to use Teleport magic for you. How could a runt like you claim to be… What was that now… Similar to her?”
Riley wiggled his eyebrows.
It was because Andal wasn’t wrong about it in any particular way.
“I have a reason. The kind that a dragon bastard doesn’t know about.”
“Yes, yes. It must be something quite extraordinary, Young Master Lazy Sword.”
“Stop yapping and just get the Teleport spell ready.”
Riley, who had a vein popping up on his forehead, held in his anger and nagged Andal about the Teleport spell.
“You must be thinking everything will be easy if you just used Teleport. It actually takes planning.”
By making fun of Riley, Andal was able to relieve some of the stress he incurred. Andal said,
“First, tell her to come over here.”
Andal pointed at Nainiae, and Riley made a hand gesture to Nainiae to ask her to come.
Nainiae, who restored the collapsed tree using her Plant magic, came toward Riley in light steps.
“Servant Nainiae, I’ll explain this to you only once, so listen carefully.”
Because Andal started talking to Nainiae so suddenly, Nainiae looked at Riley as if she panicked.
“Hear him out. He said he has something to tell you.”
Nainiae acknowledged with a nod.
Andal, who clicked his tongue, started to explain,
“Do you have a map?”
“Yes. I have it.”
“Bring it out.”
Nainiae brought out the map from her pocket and opened it.
The map had the path from Iphelleta mansion to Rainfield all marked up in wavy lines.
It was the line that Nainiae drew with a pen.
“When you two get on the carriage, I’ll use Teleport magic as requested by that wretch. I will. However, what do you think will happen if you guys suddenly appeared in middle of Rainfield City?”
Having heard Andal’s question, Nainiae, who thought about it for a moment, said what she thought might happen.
“Those that don’t know about magic would panic, and others that do know about magic…would be wary of us. In the worst-case scenario, they might even think about arresting us…”
“You know very well.”
Teleport was a Seven Circles magic.
Even if that fact was ignored, it was certain that the responses from the people would not be good if Iphelleta House’s carriage appeared in middle of Rainfield City out of the blue.
“Therefore, in order to avoid bothersome consequences or chaos from that, I’m going to teleport you guys to…”
Andal paused for a moment and raised his hand toward the map that Nainiae was holding.
The location that Andal pointed at was in middle of a nameless forest that was not far from Rainfield.
“You understood, right?”
“Yes. I’ll keep that in mind.”
Having heard Andal’s explanation, Nainiae promptly nodded that she understood.
“You are bright. If it was Riley, he would not have understood it at all and asked me again.”
“Andal, cut the crap already. Seriously? I’m going to kill you?”
Andal, who sighed heavily enough to make the ground sink, looked at Nainiae. It seemed Andal was disappointed that he didn’t get to have Nainiae.
Andal pointed toward the carriage with his chin.
Having heard Andal, Nainiae, who glanced at Riley, went ahead first and got on the carriage’s driver’s seat.
To Riley, who followed suit and was about to get on the carriage after Nainiae, turned his head in response to Andal’s voice calling him.
“About Nainiae, your servant.”
Unlike his tone of voice until now, Andal’s voice was serious this time.
Riley vacantly stared at Andal’s face.
Andal just stood there with a dramatic pause.
So, Riley asked first,
“…Is it about her lifespan?”
“As I thought, you already knew? Actually, it would be weirder if someone like you didn’t know about it.”
Andal mumbled like he figured as much and then continued,
“What are you going to do about it?”
This time, it was Riley who fell silent.
Because Riley was keeping silence just like how he was a moment ago, this time, it was Andal that spoke first,
“Of the human guests who I met yesterday...”
Andal, who was on an amusement trip as a human, was currently working as an owner of a pub.
“I met someone who had a unique kind of profession. I became very interested in trying that once.”
“A unique kind of profession?”
Listening to Andal continuing his story, Riley wiggled his brows.
‘…It’s taking him quite a while.’
‘Shall I clean the carriage a little?’
Nainiae, who was already sitting on the carriage’s driver’s seat, vacantly turned her gaze and looked at the carriage.
‘No. I heard that it rains endlessly in Rainfield, so… There is probably no need to wash the carriage. If there isn’t anything to clean at the moment, is there anything I can get done while I wait?’
Nainiae, who didn’t want to just wait without doing anything, moved her eye around. Her eye eventually found the gift that Iris gave him before Nainiae and Riley departed for Rainfield.
‘Should I open it now?’
Nainiae took a quick glance at Andal and Riley. It looked like their conversation was not showing any sign of coming to its end. She figured she will have time, so she moved her hand toward the gift.
It had been a long time since Nainiae received a gift.
She couldn’t remember how many years it had been.
‘…I wonder what it is?’
Nainiae traced back her feint memories of her childhood. The very last gift that she received was during her ninth birthday. It was a chocolate bread from her mother. That was all.
Opening the gift wrapped in a fabric, Nainiae confirmed what was inside. Her eyes opened wide.
She was wondering what it was until now because it was something thin and hard. It was a mask.
It was the mask that Riley was wearing when Nainiae met Riley for the first time in Solia.
The mask was modified by Iris. Now, over half of its coverage was cut off. The remaining coverage was just enough to cover Nainiae’s scar.
“Ah… Lady Iris…”
Without her realizing it, Nainiae had a fragile and tender look on her face. Nainiae touched the mask.
For a mysterious reason, from the mask, which was modified to hide the injury on the wearer, Nainiae thought she could feel warmth.
She didn’t know how others would feel about this gift. However, to Nainiae, it was the best and an incredibly warm gift.
Nainiae was mumbling words of gratitude toward Iris for making this gift. However, Nainiae started to cough.
In haste, Nainiae covered her mouth with the top of her hand. She continued to cough.
For some reason, the coughing was difficult to stop. Nainiae furrowed her brows. With one of her eyes squinting, she looked at the top side of her hand.
Coughing barely came to a stop.
Nainiae, who was looking at the top of her hand, couldn’t do anything but open her mouth vacantly.
There was lifelessly dark blood on the top of her hand.
Nainiae, who had her mouth open vacantly, recalled what Priesia said back in the Solia Holy Temple.
‘I can’t completely cure the illness. I can extend your lifespan… If it is short, it may last until the summer. If it is really long, it may last until the winter. I think it will last until the autumn.’
Soon, Nainiae, who had her mouth open, smiled gently.
Looking at the mask that she received from Iris as a gift, Nainiae was smiling. Her smile looked like she had never been happier.
“…I feel happy.”
Nainiae murmured as she touched the mask,
“Thank you, Lady Iris. A magnificent gift like this… Honestly, I think I don’t deserve such a gift.”
Nainiae was blushing in embarrassment as she smiled.
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