Riley noticed the carriage had stopped.
Of all the carriages stopped in middle of the field, Riley, who was inside the Iphelleta House’s carriage, poked his head out the window with his hair in a sleepy mess.
“Uuuu… Are we there now?”
“No. Not yet…”
The one that answered was not Nainiae.
It was Reitri sitting near the window. Noticing this, Riley tilted his head side to side and looked around.
“In that case, why have we stopped?”
“That is… It will be very complicated to explain.”
Reitri mumbled as he scratched the side of his head.
Riley, who had been looking around the area, found Nainiae and Basilisk standing face to face in the distance.
Nainiae had a heavy atmosphere.
Basilisk looked like an infuriated bull. He was scratching the ground with tips of his feet to relax his legs.
Riley roughly figured out what was happening. With a quizzical look on his face, he asked,
“That… Is that what I think it is?”
Although Reitri was new to being a merchant, he was a merchant.
He was pretty quick with his senses, so he knew what Riley was talking about. He nodded and said yes.
“Gosh, that kid…”
Riley comfortably leaned his arm on the carriage’s window frame. He supported his chin with his right palm and looked at Nainiae.
“She said she could not stand someone badmouthing about her young master.”
“What about the other side?”
Riley asked about Basilisk.
He figured that, if what Reitri was saying was the case, then the cause of it all must be Basilisk.
“You know about that ogre, right?”
“The one with a fat stomach?”
Reitri was confused for a moment and gave a blank stare when Riley said ‘the one with a fat stomach.’ Soon, he collected himself and answered,
“Yes. That monster with a fat stomach. Mr. Basilisk was telling a story about how he killed it in 30 minutes…and Ms. Nainiae said that is pretty fast. That’s how it came to this.”
Riley cracked a smile and twisted a corner of his mouth.
It felt like they both agitated parts they should not have.
In Nainiae, it was Riley. In Basilisk, it was pride.
“It’s not like they are little children.”
Riley still didn’t change the look on his face. He was still smiling. He casually turned his head and looked at Horai, who was sitting next to Reitri.
“What? What are you looking at?”
“What is it…sir?”
It seemed like he was scolded harshly while Riley was not looking. He was pouting big time as he corrected himself and used respectful language.
‘Anyway…this sure is a bother.’
Turning his gaze away from Horai, Riley looked at where Nainiae and Basilisk were having a face-off. Riley moved the index finger of the hand supporting his head and started to tap his cheek.
“Now that I think about it, that runt… He seems a little short. How old is he?”
Basilisk was definitely on the shorter side.
His body was about the size of Horai, who was watching the scene from the side.
Despite that, his hands had traces of training that indicated he had swung his spear countless times. It was hard to tell his true age.
“He is about…15?”
“Yes. He is 15 this year.”
Having heard Riley’s question, Reitri asked a mercenary from the Lightning Boulder group. Having received the question, one of its members nodded and answered.
Riley turned his head toward the mercenary and asked again with a look of disbelief.
“I didn’t hear that wrong, did I?”
Basilisk looked a little short and his face looked rather young, so Riley figured he just looked young. It seemed that was not the case.
“He is just 15, yet he is running a mercenary group as its commander? Do mercenaries not have any talented individuals to fill the commander positions? Just what kind of screwed up place is this city?”
It seemed the mercenary knew Riley was going to ask that question. He explained with a bitter look on his face.
“That is… It was the last will of the former commander who passed away.”
“Count Riley…that is not right, is it? Will it be all right if I called you young master?”
The mercenary was not introduced to Riley yet, so he was confused about his title. He carefully asked Riley, and Riley nodded. The mercenary continued,
“The one you are looking at over there is Commander Nara. His late father…Garf Basilisk was the former commander of the Lightning Boulder mercenary group.”
To put it simply, Nara had inherited the leadership from his father.
“Yes. Do you know him?”
“No, it is just…”
Riley shook his head and asked a different question.
“It’s about the name, Basilisk. It is a family name. Were they a nobility in the past?”
What Riley wanted to ask was about the last name attached after Nara’s first name.
“Ah, yes… They are not anymore though.”
The mercenary responded with a saddened face.
Judging from the look on his face and his tone, it seemed there was a circumstance that lead to that. Riley didn’t pry on it. With his hand supporting his head, Riley turned his gaze toward Nainiae and Basilisk.
‘Now that I think about it, there was one too back in my past life. There was a bastard with a spear that wanted to have a duel with me.’
With a vacant look, Riley thought about his past as he stared at Basilisk. Riley slightly furrowed his brows and wandered through his memories.
‘Back then… What did he say?’
Although he was born again in this world with all of his past memory intact, Riley was still a human.
It was impossible for him to remember everything of the past like a machine. He wasn’t able to remember everything clearly.
‘I remember the big parts…’
A sense of burden, responsibility, guilt, worries, and etc. There were many complicated emotions involved in it… So, in the end, Riley didn’t join the man wielding a spear. Also, that man had a horrific end. Those were the things that Riley remembered.
‘Somehow… I think there is more that I should be able to remember…but it is not quite coming to me.’
Those were all of memories that Riley could recall about ‘that man with the spear.’
“T-Two of you… Are you ready? Ms. Nainiae, Mr. Basilisk?”
Perhaps…he should be called the judge. Horai was standing between Nainiae and Basilisk before anyone realized.
Horai was going back to his crass language, but feeling a suffocating atmosphere, he changed his attitude.
Basilisk and Nainiae both answered at the same time.
“In that case, I’ll count down.”
Like the swordsmanship tournament in Solia, Horai started to count down from five seconds,
The rule was to make the opponent incapacitated.
Still, in order to prevent accidents, the weapons were wooden sword and spear instead of sharpened real weapons.
Nainiae was wielding a wooden sword.
Basilisk was wielding a wooden spear.
‘Is Nainiae going to use a sword?’
Riley, who was looking at the two, narrowed his eyes.
It was because it had not been long since Nainiae started to learn swordsmanship in Iphelleta mansion.
‘Is she going to be all right?’
Unlike Nainiae, Basilisk had been wielding a spear since his childhood. It seemed certain that he was a specialist in spear.
Just looking at his callused hands and mana unintentionally being exuded from his body, Riley could tell that Nainiae was definitely going to lose if the duel was going to be just with a sword and a spear.
Horai shouted ‘start!’ with his eyes tightly closed. He then promptly turned around and started to run toward where Reitri and Riley was.
It was because he was instructed to do so by Nainiae and Basilisk.
It was Nainiae who furrowed her brows as soon as the match begun.
Basilisk turned his body as soon as Horai’s hand fell. Basilisk attempted long range first attack using the spear’s length.
‘As I expected, is he trying to squash the opponent using the distance?’
Nainiae was in trouble from the start.
Riley tapped the cheek with his index fingers as if he knew this was going to happen.
‘Still, if she learned it properly from Sera, she probably knows what to do after this.’
It was right after Riley mumbled like that inwardly.
Using her wooden sword, Nainiae swept away the wooden spear coming at her with a narrow margin. With her sword still touching the spear, she charged toward Basilisk.
Her form was clean. There was nothing to fault. However…
There was a hesitation in her first movement.
It was because this was her first time fighting with a sword.
‘She should have charged in sooner.’
Before Nainiae could get close to Basilisk, he dragged his feet toward his back and increased the distance. He swung his spear from the opposite direction and turned his body again.
“What’s this? Your moves are full of awkwardness?”
Turning his body, Basilisk wiggled the corners of his mouth and swung his spear in a large motion toward Nainiae.
It was a large and confident movement. It seemed Basilisk was trying to show that spears are not just for stabbing.
“By any chance, is this your first fight?”
Nainiae quickly moved her arm and blocked the wooden spear coming at her. Having heard what Basilisk said, Nainiae gritted her teeth.
“It seems I was right? Judging from how you are scrunching your face!”
Basilisk, who was trash-talking toward Nainiae, took another step back and widened the distance. He turned his wrist, fixed his grip on his spear, and attempted to stab Nainiae again.
‘This one is too much…’
Riley furrowed his brows.
The stabbing move’s power and speed was quite different from the first attack that Basilisk used in the beginning of the match to keep Nainiae in check.
Although Nainiae blocked the first stab by a narrow margin, the problem started with the second strike.
“I’m sorry, but I am not the type that goes easy on someone just because it is the first fight!”
Basilisk wasn’t a knight.
He was born as a son of a mercenary, so he was obviously a mercenary.
Showing consideration for the opponent?
That kind of generosity was perfect for getting oneself killed on the battlefield.
Therefore, Basilisk was merciless. He tried to stab Nainiae with his spear. Second, third… He kept attempting it.
Nainiae’s wooden sword, which was held on her left hand, moved diligently.
Every time she blocked Basilisk’s attack, not just the palm of her hand, but her fingers…even her arm, was aching.
‘Also, it’s heavy.’
It was a proof that Basilisk, the one Nainiae was facing right now, was definitely a skilled warrior.
Even when Nainiae was dueling against Sera who had a serious look on her face, Nainiae never had received a serious strike like this from her. Nainiae’s face was gradually getting darker.
‘Maybe… He is more skilled than Ms. Sera…’
Nainiae was not able to block every strike. Eventually, she was hit on her shoulder.
If the spear that Basilisk was holding was a real spear with a sharp edge, one of her shoulder would not have been all right.
‘Kuk. My shoulder…’
This time, Nainiae retreated to gain distance. She looked at her shoulder that was hit.
“For now, that’s one strike! You are a girl, but you seem to withstand pain pretty well?”
It seemed Basilisk’s attack had a spin to it.
The tip of the spear was blunt. Being stabbed by it, Nainiae’s maid uniform’s shoulder portion was wrinkled as if there was a small twister there.
“If it was an ordinary person, he would be screaming and yelling about how much it hurts.”
Basilisk drew back his spear. He had it rested on his shoulder and looked at one of the mercenary members who were watching the duel. Looked at him, Basilisk mumbled above. The mercenary, who was being stared at by Basilisk, said,
“Why are you looking at me?”
“Nothing. I just remembered how you cried whole day about a bruise because you got hit by this once from me.”
“Gosh. That mouth of yours!”
Basilisk joked as he looked around.
Unlike Nainiae, he looked rather relaxed with margin to spare.
Basilisk may have been with his comrades during his fight against the ogre, but it seemed he was not lying about defeating it within 30 minutes.
‘Um. With that level of skill, I wonder who he would be able to go up against in the mansion?’
Watching the duel, Riley looked at Basilisk with an intrigued face.
‘Sera? Nah. She is not even close. Ian? Lloyd?’
Riley estimated Basilisk’s skill was on par with Ian or Lloyd. He turned his gaze and looked at Nainiae.
“I’m used to pain. This much is…well…”
Nainiae straightened the wrinkle on her dress and said with an uninterested tone.
“Oh, used to pain?”
Basilisk raised his eyebrow as if he was quite surprised and asked.
Nainiae didn’t answer his question. However…
She was probably talking about the experiments she endured in the Magic Tower.
She was subjected to pain that would be more accurate to call torture instead.
The idea of shedding tears from getting hit by a blunt tip of a wooden spear was not even worth a laugh to Nainiae.
‘Is it about time she used it?’
Watching Nainiae fixing her clothes and narrowing her eyes, Riley also narrowed his eyes and stared at Nainiae.
‘Well. It is worthy of a praise that she managed to block until now using just her sword.’
She never held a sword until recently.
It has not even been two months since she started learning.
Moreover, it was not like she was taught to the official capacity. She was casually taught by Sera… Whenever there was time in between maid training.
The fact that she managed as much as she had so far in this duel was worthy of praise.
‘…Looks like she is going to use it.’
Having confirmed the look in Nainiae’s eye, he mumbled inwardly.