The Rainfield’s library was surrounded by the guards.
The people, who were injured from bites or scratches by the corpses, were being treated by the guards.
“Ugh, is there a better medicine?”
“This is the best one we have.”
As for other people, they just sat there with vacant looks on their faces.
They were waiting to give testimonials.
Because of this, people who were in the library could not leave the place.
“… And then?”
“In the center area of the library, there was a man wearing a black cape.”
“A man wearing a black cape?”
It seemed that people were shocked from what they have witnessed. The survivors were shaking as they responded to the questions by the guards.
“Yes… When he appeared, suddenly, nothing could be heard from the surrounding area. All of sudden, there were flames and pieces of ice flying around, and people… and people…”
Most of the people were choking in fear.
It was the same even for the people who have not witnessed the cruel massacre in the library’s center area.
“I… I entered the library… but there was someone with pitch black eyes charging at me, so I barely managed to escape… but the person next to me got bitten… From the neck, from that person’s neck, blood spread out like… a fountain…”
The survivors from the direction of the library’s entrance, in other words, the people who were near the screams, stuttered from being in the state of panic as they responded to the guards’ questions.
“I understand. Thank you for your cooperation.”
The guard took simple notes about the scene and witness' testimonials. As the last thing, he called Riley and Nainiae, who were held up inside the library.
The guard, who was fiddling with his fingers, asked carefully to the two people in front of him.
“You are a nobility from Solia?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
Riley was not paying attention because he was busy reading a book.
Nainiae nodded and responded.
“I understand. This is not important at this time, so we will go over it quickly. First, I would like to express our gratitude.”
The guard bowed.
Nainiae, panicking and not knowing what to do, looked at Riley who was sitting next to her.
Riley still didn’t show any response in particular. He seemed to be still deep in the book.
“What’s your name?”
“Again, thank you. Thanks to you, Ms. Nainiae, the harm to the citizens and tourists were minimized.”
The guard bowed and expressed his gratitude. He started to ask about what happened earlier.
“By any chance, while you were neutralizing the situation at the first floor, did you see the dark mage?”
From the citizens’ testimonials, the guard was certain that it was the dark mage, so he asked about the mage’s whereabouts.
“This is the picture drawn based on all testimonials.”
On the paper, there was a man with a skinny build. His face had sunken cheek.
“He is estimated to be in late 20s to early 30s. By any chance, have you ran into him in the library?”
Nainiae looked carefully at the man’s face and shook her head to show that she was not sure.
“No. I didn’t run into him.”
Having heard her response, the guard casually directed his gaze toward Riley, who was focusing on reading.
“Excuse me, young master… by any chance…”
Nainiae carefully tapped on Riley’s shoulder.
Riley, who was focusing on the book, finally looked at the guard. Scratching the back of his head, Riley asked back,
“I’m sorry. What did you say?”
“this man here, by any chance…”
Before the guard could even finish his sentence, Riley responded,
“I haven’t seen him.”
Riley didn’t even glance at the paper. Noticing this, the guard was not sure what to do. He scratched the back of his head.
“Excuse me, but you didn’t even look at the paper…”
“We are done here, right?”
“Pardon? No, not yet…”
The guard said it was not done as he blurred the end of his sentence. Annoyed, Riley got up from the seat and mumbled,
“Well, I am sorry about shattering the glass on the ceiling, but… I did that because I was concerned about books catching on fire. As for compensations, that friend over there will take care of it.”
Riley pointed at Reitri and Horai, who were waiting for their turn.
Noticing Riley suddenly pointing at them with his thumb, Reitri, who was waiting for his turn from quite a distance, tilted his head side to side.
“If you have questions about the dark mage or whatever, then go talk to that friend over there. He probably knows more than we do."
Indicating that he was done with all this, Riley got up from the chair.
As if there was nothing to it, Riley turned and left the scene.
Nainiae tumbled and got up just like Riley. She bowed to the guard, who was sitting there with a blank look on his face, and went to follow Riley.
“… Ah, is it my turn?”
After Riley left, as if he was waiting for it, Reitri got up from the waiting bench and sat at the seats with Horai in front of the guard.
“Now, what would you like to ask?”
Rubbing his hands together, Reitri sat at the table not as a witness but as a businessman. His eyes were sparkling.
“It seems like we will have a lot to talk about?”
Reitri observed the guard in order to get on his good side.
“There is also the matter of the library’s glass ceiling.”
Reitri looked at Horai, and Horai immediately brought out three cups from his bag and placed them on the table.
“What are these? Cups?”
“Ah, it seemed that you didn’t get a chance to drink anything while getting testimonies.”
“Well, that’s right.”
“I just happen to have a famous tea. I’ve heard that it is especially good for men’s vitality, so…”
The guard bit the bait for making a good impression.
Reitri was certain after hearing the man’s fake cough. Looking at the bottle that Horai brought out, Reitri asked,
“Why don’t we talk while you have a glass? Let’s see, what should I tell you first?”
* * *
“… Excuse me, young master.”
As already agreed, Riley escaped the library while leaving the rest to Reitri. Having heard Nainiae calling for him, Riley fixed the hood part of the raincoat and looked back.
“I didn’t do anything wrong, right?”
“Why do you think that?”
Riley, who was walking in front, asked back.
Nainiae thought about it for a moment and answered,
“I was thinking it would be all right to talk to the guard for a little longer. We could help them a little to apprehend that black mage too… Also…”
Having heard what Nainiae said, Riley cringed and interrupted her. Riley mumbled,
“… That will get annoying.”
“Nainiae, I’m here on a vacation. I’m not here to hunt some bastard called the dark mage or white mage.”
Riley turned his face forward and murmured,
“There is no need to get involved in something so bothersome.”
Riley ignored what was happening in the library’s first floor.
He was feeling guilty… about that fact.
Riley, who was walking in the front, had his face crumpled.
He was feeling unnecessary guilt. Because of it… it made him remember something from his past life.
‘A brave hero? A brave hero saved us?’
‘Don’t make me laugh! If he didn’t come here in the first place, my son wouldn’t have died like that!’
‘Bring back my daughter! I said bring her back!!’
‘Get lost! Get the hell out of our town right now!’
‘Don’t ever come back!’
‘Who said we needed your help!’
There were thoughts of things that happened in his past life, people’s voices… Riley looked disgusted. He gritted his teeth.
“… Excuse me, young master.”
Nainiae, who was following right behind Riley, called for Riley carefully.
“By any chance…”
Nainiae seemed like she wanted to talk about something. She was blurring the end of her sentence. Frustrated, Riley raised his voice and asked what she was going to say.
“By any chance what?”
“By any chance, are you angry?”
Riley cringed and turned his head around.
Flinching her shoulders, Nainiae answered right away,
“No, it is nothing. My apologies.”
Riley realized that he was letting his frustration shown, although he was not intending to do so. He waved his hand as a gesture to say that it was all right. Riley said,
“Don’t mind it. I have a spoiled look on my face because it is just… I saw some disgusting things, that’s all.”
Having heard Riley’s answer, Nainiae raised her hand toward the right side of her face.
She couldn’t feel the hard surface. She realized that she still did not put the mask back on. She tumbled and brought out the mask.
“I’m sorry, young master.”
“No, I’m not talking about that.”
Riley explained that he was talking about the corpses in the library earlier. Riley sighed big and turned his head away again.
Nainiae, now wearing the mask, stared at the back of Riley vacantly. She started to fiddle with her fingers.
Just now, when she had her mask off, Riley was thinking about someone.
‘You are… okay, right?’
The problem was, the people, the existance, who Riley was thinking about could not be located using her right eye.
A situation like this had never happened until now. Nainiae, who was following behind Riley, was looking depressed from the sense of helplessness.
* * *
It had been about two days since the cruel incident in the library.
As always, it was pouring rain in Rainfield.
“… Is that so?”
“Yes, tiding up the ends from that incident were completed perfectly. Even if it is later, our Reitri merchant group, please remember us. I would really appreciate it.”
Looking at Riley, who came as a customer, Reitri, who was feeling a bit awkward, scratched the back of his head and smiled.
“What is this? You sound like you are about to leave Rainfield tomorrow? I thought you wouldn’t have sold all of your goods already?”
“Hehe, that is true, but…”
Reitri flinched and mumbled. Riley deduced that Reitri’s business of selling the goods didn’t go well. Riley decided to not ask about it anymore. Instead, he changed the subject.
“So, up to what extent have you told them?”
Having heard Riley’s question, Reitri answered with confidence,
“Ah, as you told me before, to the guards, I briefly explained Ms. Nainiae’s exploits. As expected of Ms. Nainiae… they didn’t even ask any question about you, young master Riley.”
Riley seemed he was impressed. He looked at Nainiae and praised her.
“Wow, as expected, you are amazing?”
“I’m embarrassed. I feel like they are praising me beyond my worth.”
Nainiae blushed. Reitri also started to compliment her.
“It was about those grass, right? Even in Rainfield, the story about Solia’s Astroa is quite famous. It’s to the point that at every hotel you visit, you would be hearing about the story two or three times. There is no need for further introduction.”
Having said that much, Reitri, now with a serious face, gave a book to Riley.
“Also, young master… Could you please take a look at this?”
“What is it?”
“It is something I looked into after returning to the hotel after the incident… That dark mage who came to the library took a book like this with him.”
Riley received the book from Reitri. Riley furrowed his brows after reading the title of the book.
“About Rainfield’s Rainclouds? He took a book like this?”
Having heard Riley’s question, Reitri nodded. Also, in a serious face, he asked Nainiae,
“Ms. Nainiae, you said you are at Six Circles, right?”
“Yes, why do you ask?”
“In that case, by any chance… could you estimate the number of Circles of the dark mage that was at the library?”
Nainiae put her hand on her chin and narrowed her eye.
During that day, that tragic incident happened literally in an instant.
“I’m not sure?”
Using silence magic, the mage sealed off the sound coming from the center area. In less than five minutes, he killed the people in the area and left. He was no ordinary mage.
“Probably at least Five Circles… and possibly Six Circles like myself, however…”
Nainiae thought about the traces of magic left at the scene. She carefully deduced based on the facts. She shook her head and said,
“If he is a dark mage, a deduction like this is meaningless.”
A dark mage.
It was not yet known how someone could enter such a path. It was famous for making all of the mage’s magic to turn black. The title was referring to cursed mages.
“It didn’t look like shooting a bucket load of magic is all he does? How he controls corpses must be a different kind of ability. I didn’t feel mana at all.”
Having heard what Nainiae said, Riley added his opinion.
From the dead bodies, which looked like they were being controlled, Riley could not feel any flow of mana that would have signaled the use of magic.
“So, why do you ask?”
Nainiae, tilting her head side to side, asked why Reitri was asking. Reitri, changing his look to a serious face, said,
“Actually, our merchant group is thinking about… today morning at earliest, or tomorrow morning at latest, we are thinking about leaving Rainfield.
Buy us some coffee!