Nainiae had her right hand raised to the front and her left hand near the handle of a blade on her waist. Facing Basilisk who was wielding a spear, Nainiae asked,
“You know…Mr. Ian?”
“Of course I know who he is. There isn’t anyone among those who make living as mercenaries that doesn’t know his name.”
With the tip of his spear aimed diagonally toward the ground, Basilisk answered. His eyes were still as fearsome as before.
‘What should I do?’
Basilisk’s attitude said to go ahead and fight him if she had any complaints. Noticing this, Nainiae looked toward where Riley was sitting.
‘If he is someone that knows who Mr. Ian is, I don’t think I should be rude and treat him carelessly. However, if I let it be like this, young master’s position will be…’
Nainiae was hesitating for a while. Having decided that she could not let this be, she was about to demonstrate her abilities. It was at that moment,
Riley, who had successfully finished eating a whole sandwich while sitting leisurely, dusted off his hands and got up.
Although there was a spear aimed at him, Riley’s attitude was still leisurely as if he was on a picnic.
“Why are you aiming your spear at me? You even mentioned Ian’s name. Why? You probably know that I’m a young master of a count’s House, don’t you?”
Since he knew the House’s name, Iphelleta, and Ian’s name, Basilisk probably knew Riley is a high nobility from a count’s House.
Basilisk’s behavior was most certainly rude.
“Rainfield may be a city without nobilities, but still, don’t you think you are being rude?”
Riley was right.
“I’m a guest of your employer. Can’t you see?”
After that, Riley crumpled the look on his face that was leisurely only a moment ago. Riley glared at Basilisk and created a cold atmosphere. Because of this, Reitri, who was watching from the side, started to break in cold sweat.
“…The mercenary hero…”
Responding to Riley’s gaze, Basilisk also narrowed his eyes and said,
“Ian was…a mercenary that I admired the most.”
Basilisk tightened his grip on the spear and said with his crumpled face toward Riley,
“However, when I heard that a hero like him retired, and he is now working at some nobility House as a butler… That felt like everything in me was being shattered.”
“So, I want you to show me.”
Before Riley could ask back, Basilisk’s spear charged forward.
Nainiae was not able to respond to the situation that occurred in a blink of an eye. Concluding that it can’t go on like this, she decided to use her Six Circles magic and fight back.
It was when she was about to use magic and send Basilisk’s head flying away from his body, Riley sent a message directly in Nainiae’s head,
<There is no need.>
Slicing through the wind, Basilisk’s spear charged toward Riley’s face. It stopped just before his nose.
“Show me. Prove it to me that it was the right decision for Ian to work as a butler in that family.”
‘Using what method?’
It seemed like there was no need to ask that question.
The spear that was stopped right in front of Riley’s nose was explaining how to prove it.
“All you are saying is that you just want to have a fight. Why are you going about asking it in such a brutal way?”
Cracking a smile, with the corner of his mouth twisted, Riley took a step forward.
He stepped forward despite having a spear aimed at him right in front of his nose. Seeing this, Basilisk shriveled and took a step back without realizing it.
The distance between the tip of the spear and Riley widened by that much.
“Seeing you asking me for a favor made me curious.”
Riley took another step forward, and the tip of the spear moved another step back.
Noticing Basilisk narrowing his eyes, Riley asked,
“…Why should I?”
Having heard the question that Riley tossed, Basilisk vacantly opened his mouth. It seemed he was not understanding Riley.
“Why should I fight you?”
Riley tossed the question at Basilisk and tilted his head to the side.
It was because Riley had no reason to fight him.
“What do I gain from fighting you?”
“There isn’t anything, is there? In that case, get that out of my face.”
Basilisk was not able to answer right away. Watching this, Riley waved his palm with a disappointed look.
With that sound, the wide side of the spear’s tip was slapped.
“There probably isn’t any reason to have this conversation go on further.”
Riley arrogantly slapped Basilisk’s spear, vacantly turned his body around and started to walk toward the carriage.
“Ugh. I’m sleepy… I’m going to take an afternoon nap. Nainiae, wake me up when we get there.”
Riley stretched widely, yawned and started to walk away.
Watching this, Basilisk started to grind his teeth.
It seems he felt quite humiliated by how his spear’s tip was slapped by Riley’s palm.
“Commander. Wait! Wait!”
“This isn’t time to be waving a spear around in this place!”
“Have you forgotten about the ogre that you hunted down a moment ago? We need to pack up and move!”
It seemed that others thought they could not afford to let this continue.
Two of the members of Lightning Boulder, a small mercenary group, came to Basilisk, each grabbed his arms and started to drag him away.
“You think ogres matter in a moment like this? Let go! You guys remember Mr. Ian too, don’t you? You have not forgotten him, right?”
“He is our mercenary hero, of course! Still, it is no time to be indulging in such nostalgia! Don’t you see?”
“Commander! If we idle around like this here, what are you going to do if ogres come and attack us?”
While being dragged away by his comrades, Basilisk started to struggle.
“…Who cares about ogres! Who cares!”
“Did you say who cares? Nonsense! If a battle broke out near the carriages, that will destroy them all! It’s not like you can cover for the aftermath! Stop your whining and just go help people with packing!”
With Basilisk now gone, taken away by his comrades, Reitri, who was watching the situation with an anxious face, sighed in relief.
* * *
The carriages started to move.
Coming out of the forest, the carriages were running on open field. Their destination was Rainfield, a city with endless rain through all seasons.
“Perhaps I should say it was as expected of an ogre? We hunted it together, but I think it still took 30 minutes to kill it. I’m saying it was that tough!”
Basilisk, who was driving his carriage relatively further in front of everyone else, was telling others about the ogre that he ran into in the forest.
“…After a long battle, the final blow was delivered by me with my spear. It was a clean end.”
Of the three carriages in front, Horai, who was on the left side, was tuning into Basilisk’s tale of bravado.
“Horai. If you keep on sticking your face out like that, you might fall off from the driver’s seat!”
“Ah, come on, Uncle! It’s fine. You know how long I have lived my life riding the co-driver’s seat!” [TL: Normally, I would have said ‘shotgun seat,’ but since they don’t have guns or shotguns in this world, I cannot say that.]
“Hahaha! Mr. Reitri, please don’t worry. I just need to catch him when he falls!”
“Gosh! I said I won’t fall!”
Reitri drove the carriage on the far left.
Basilisk drove the one in the center.
Perhaps it was odd to call it naturally, but, to the right, Nainiae was driving her carriage.
“Excuse me. Miss maid.”
Having heard the voice coming from left, Nainiae slightly turned her head.
It was a dry and uninterested response.
Nainiae was still cautious against Basilisk, the one who aimed his spear toward her young master.
“What do you think? I’m talking about how our mercenary group killed an ogre.”
“Are you talking about…an ogre?”
“That’s right. Ogre! You have heard of it, right?”
Basilisk was asking with a proud face. Nainiae looked at him with a blank stare. With an unimpressed look, Nainiae answered,
“Yes, I have heard of it.”
Actually, she did run into one earlier today as well.
“Kuuu! As expected! Actually, now that I think about it, would it be odd if someone didn’t know what an ogre is?”
There was an old saying that if you tell a crying child that an ogre will come if the child didn’t stop crying, the child would stop crying. Just like that, it was a famous monster.
The sound of the ground shaking from its steps, generated by its mountain-size body, was fearsome, but it was most famous for its ridiculous strength. Ogres were about as famous as orcs, the main foes of human race.
“We are always ignored because we are made of few elites. After this mission is over, if we toss this ogre’s head in front of the guild, even the guild members will see us differently.”
The carriages were driving through the field. One of them ran across a bump and shook.
Basilisk, who was mumbling on his own, turned his head toward Nainiae and asked,
“Miss maid, you work at Solia’s Iphelleta mansion… So, at the same place as Mr. Ian, right?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“How is he?”
“What do you mean?”
Nainiae, who still didn’t relax her face, asked back toward Basilisk with a face full of wariness.
“I wonder if he is still in good health. He is quite old now.”
The mercenary hero.
Ian was like a god to mercenaries.
Not just from Riley, but from Sera as well, Nainiae have heard a bit of stories about Ian’s past. Nainiae struggled because she could not think of a way to respond. Eventually, she answered honestly,
“He is doing just fine. If you don’t count the fact about his back giving him a bit of trouble.”
As if he was feeling awkward, Basilisk scratched his cheek after hearing Nainiae’s response.
Basilisk’s response was like a child who just received a gift.
Noticing this, Nainiae eased her wariness a bit and asked him,
“Do you admire Mr. Ian?”
“He is so cool! If we were to go over all of his exploits during the Great War, there would be no end to the conversation.”
Because Nainiae had heard about Ian from Sera and Riley, she had some awareness to the fact that Ian is a skilled warrior. However, she believed it was exaggerated a little.
“Recapturing a forbidden herb field, rescuing a kidnapped queen, slaughtering orcs, hunting down silver witch… Beside those, there are several dozen other smaller exploits. Also, number of towns he saved are in order of hundreds. Despite all that, he had no greed for wealth or entitlements. That’s why he is even more legendary.”
Basilisk proudly explained Ian’s accomplishments. Listening to his stories, Nainiae had an impressed look on her face. She thought about Ian who stayed behind in the mansion.
‘Is it because I only saw Mr. Ian hanging out with Young Master Riley in the mansion?’
Ian seemed to grow ever so weaker in front of Riley.
On the other hand, there was a different Ian that Basilisk was describing to her.
Comparing the two different versions of Ian in her head, Nainiae made a bitter smile.
“So? What do you think of the ogre?”
“I’m talking about the ogre that we killed!”
Actually, of all mercenaries, there were only few that could kill an ogre in 30 minutes.
“Hu… This is the first time we ran into one. I didn’t think it would only take 30 minutes!”
With just three mercenaries from the Lightning Boulder, cutting off that monster’s head in just 30 minutes was definitely a jaw dropping story.
The problem was that it was Nainiae who was listening to the story.
“I guess about 30 minutes is pretty fast.”
She was the designated maid of Riley, the one who worked a red dragon as a friend. Also, she was a Six Circles mage who was not even in her 20s.
“About 30 minutes?”
Basilisk, who was driving his carriage, looked at Nainiae and flinched his facial muscles.
In response to his question, Nainiae said with an uninterested voice as if there was nothing wrong with her statement,
“Yes, it definitely is.”
Those who knew Nainiae well probably would have thought there was nothing wrong with her talking like that. However, Basilisk didn’t know anything in detail about Nainiae.
So… It seemed Basilisk found Nainiae’s response to be ridiculous. He sighed heavily toward the sky and hardened his face like the first time he met her.
“Miss maid, are you full of exaggerated sense of worth like your master?”
Having heard the provocative question, Nainiae, who finally had just managed to relax her face for the moment, narrowed her eyes.
“I’m talking about making people angry just with words. That.”
Basilisk put up a violent look on his face and glared at Nainiae as if he was going to punch a hole through her face with his glaring.
“Are you…trying to pick a fight with me?”
The look in Basilisk’s eyes seemed like he would have grabbed the spear on his back and attacked if he was not driving a carriage right now.
“It was probably your side that picked a fight with me first.”
Although Nainiae merely told him the truth, Basilisk was not able to acknowledge it. Instead, he was exuding his intent for a fight. Looking at him, Nainiae didn’t just sit back and watch either.
“…Back then, you said to prove it, right?”
Nainiae, who just remembered how Basilisk was aiming his spear at Riley, asked casually. She continued before a response could be heard,
“All right. I’ll really show it to you.”
Buy us some coffee!