“How should I say this… It feels like I can smell a familiar stench?”
Basilisk, who was sitting in front of Riley, had a serious look on his face as he thought about the back of Rebethra.
Riley, who was sitting there in a relaxed pose, furrowed his brows.
It wasn’t because of what Basilisk said. It was because of Basilisk’s eyes, which turned sharp like snakes.
“I’m not sure? From where I see it, I think your eyes are weirder?”
With his finger, Riley pointed at Basilisk’s eyes. As if he had totally forgotten about it, Basilisk returned his transformed eyes back to normal. Embarrassed, he scratched the back of his head and looked at Riley.
“This is… How should I say it… A habit? Should I call it my instinct… When I shake hands with someone who has bad aura, my eyes turn like that.”
“Commander, please wait.”
Rorona suddenly stepped in.
“You don’t really need to explain that…”
“No. This Young Master is all right. If he is someone that Mr. Ian acknowledges, then it would be wrong of me to hide it. Also… My father would have done the same.”
Riley tilted his head side to side and mumbled.
It was because Riley remembered what Rorona said before they arrived at Rainfield.
‘Our commander’s intuition had never been wrong. Although the ability is limited to a few conditions, actually, our commander is…’
Regarding the intuition, and regarding the conditions that limits the ability, Riley remembered how she blurred the end of the explanation.
“You, by any chance…”
Riley narrowed his eyes and glared at Basilisk. Basilisk bit his lips a little and faced Riley.
“That’s right. I… look like a human, but I’m not a human.”
It seemed it took a lot for Basilisk to say it.
Basilisk bit his lips again and looked at Riley. Basilisk’s eyes were sharp again like when he was looking at Rebethra earlier.
Riley steadily stared at Basilisk’s eyes.
The boy’s eyes were definitely well beyond those of humans.
“I’m the last survivor of Basilisks… the existence who were indebted to the Mercenary Hero Mr. Ian during the Great War.”
Basilisk brought up Ian’s name and continued in a serious tone. Riley’s eyes were filled with interest.
Riley became intrigued about the existence who Ian saved when he was called the Mercenary Hero in the past.
“The name, Basilisk… It is not a name of a nobility?”
Riley directed his gaze toward Rorona. Last time, she was wishy-washy about this question. Now, she nodded apologetically.
“Please forgive me. I couldn’t tell you about our commander back then. As he just explained… our commander is the last of the Basilisks.”
Rorona explained that it was also because of the former commander’s last will. She said she had done so in order to protect the young boy named Nara, the last of the Basilisks, from danger.
“It would take a while to explain about the Basilisks in detail. To tell you the most relevant part for the moment, they have an eye for seeing through people… In other words, they can detect people’s innate nature.”
Nara pointed his finger toward his eyes. To explain Basilisks more easily, he looked at Nainiae and asked,
“There is such a thing called the innate type in magic, right?”
Nainiae nodded as the response. Nara explained further.
“You can just think of it as something like that. I could say that we don’t look at people through their appearances. Instead, we see them through their color.”
“There are people who are red, blue, or pitch black. They are all different. For instance, Young Master, you are white… no, more like silver color. Ms. Nainiae, you have the white color.”
Noticing the color was changed in the middle, Riley glared at Nainiae.
“Excuse me. Do you believe me? What I’m saying?”
Nara, who just revealed that he was not human, asked Riley and Nainiae carefully.
“Well, in the situation right now, It is not important for me to believe it or not.”
Riley responded in an uninterested manner.
Nainiae added awkwardly,
“I believe you.”
Nara was worried he might be met with hatred. He sighed in relief and continued what he was saying earlier.
“Anyway, about that man who is an Archbishop… His rear end stinks. He was purple… and I think it would be best if you didn’t go near him.”
Having heard Nara’s advice, Riley still kept his uninterested look on his face. Riley took a sip from the tea.
“I’m already aware.”
“I already know. That oldfart wants something from me.”
Surprised, Basilisk blinked his eyes. He asked,
“By any chance, Young Master… Do you have something similar to…”
Finding his question to be ridiculous, Riley crumpled his face. Riley interrupted Nara.
“You think I’m the same as you?”
“In that case, just how?”
“How should I put it? Past experience? I have seen runts with rotten behind like him countless times. I’m sick of them. Well, it’s something like that.”
‘I have plenty of experience from the past life. You think I can’t tell them apart from the good people?’
Riley thought to himself inside. Riley put his leg on top of the other and looked at Nara.
Nara, who had his mouth open vacantly, asked Riley with a confused look.
“You know he is up to no good, but… you are letting him be? Although you know what that old man is up to?”
Riley shrugged as if it was nothing and said,
“That’s right. I know what he is up to, but I’m letting it be.”
“… Just… why?”
“They are giving me good stuff on their own.”
With a relaxed gaze, Riley directed his eyes toward the gift that Rebethra left behind.
“I can’t gut him right away just because he is an eyesore. Taking advantage of him first beforehand is the wisdom for living this world.”
Nara was still finding it all to be ridiculous. He had a confused look on his face still. Nara finally realized why Riley’s color was silver.
“Well, the beings called Basilisks are interesting. I’ll handle the things about Rebethra, so don’t worry about it. Why don’t you be on your way now?”
Riley sipped on the tea and enjoyed its taste. He waved his hand as if he was asking them to leave.
“Young Master, please let us go with you to Solia. Just up to there… Will you please let me see Mr. Ian’s face once?”
In response to Riley’s hand gesture, Nara shook his head as if he couldn’t let it end like this. He pleaded to Riley.
‘So, that was the goal?’
“Young Master, please…”
Nara bit his lips and lowered his head. Uninterested, Riley stared at the boy’s head. In the end, Riley still didn’t want to let them accompany him back to Solia. Riley shook his head and said,
“No. You can’t.”
Riley didn’t want to carry an unwanted bag on the way back home. He promptly said no.
“Young Master, please.”
“I don’t want to.”
Nara pleaded again, but Riley refused cold heartedly. He shut his eyes slowly, signaling that the conversation was now over.
“I won’t get in your way. Please allow us to accompany you at least.”
If he just wanted to see Ian, he just needed to visit the mansion as a guest. Nara was probably doing this so he won’t get in Riley’s wrong side.
“If we stalked you, that would be more of an inconvenience for you, isn’t that right?”
It was going to be more than just an inconvenience.
Riley might pull out his sword out of feeling the inconvenience.
“Please… I beg of you.”
Because of his desperate voice and pleading look on his face, Riley cringed big time and asked Nara,
“Ugh, just why do you need to see Ian so badly?”
Riley could understand that Nara wanted to see his savior, the Hero Mercenary that saved Basilisks’ kind. However… Riley couldn’t understand why Nara was risking having his head chopped off.
“That is… My father…”
While Nara was blurring the end of the sentence, the hotel owner brought the cold rice liquor that Nara asked for and placed it on the table before rushing to get out of there.
Nainiae narrowed her eyes cautiously after seeing the drink.
It seemed her memory of the drink from the first day at Rainfield was still clear.
“… Ms. Nainiae?”
Nara was about to continue talking about Ian, but he noticed her gaze. Feeling uncomfortable, Nara called her name.
“Drinks… are dangerous.”
“Ignore her. Continue. What about your father?”
Riley, who was cringing, interrupted the conversation. Thanks to that, Nara barely managed to redirect his gaze away from Nainiae. Looking at the rice liquor on the table, Nara continued with a bitter look on his face.
“As a last request… My father said he wanted to see Mr. Ian.”
Nara mumbled with a bitter look. He looked behind to see Isen. Isen nodded as if he understood what he was asking, and brought the leather pouch that he was holding in his arms.
“What is this?”
It looked like it contained ashes.
“It’s the ashes of my father’s bones.”
“It was his testament. Before he died, he said he wanted to see Mr. Ian. So…”
Nara bit his lips for a moment. He chugged on the rice liquor and continued with hesitation.
“After showing this to Mr. Ian, I plan to bury my father in a sunny place.”
Nara couldn’t look more serious. With that look, Nara stared at Riley.
“To repay our debts for saving our kind, and also to find a good place to bury my father’s bones… please allow us to accompany you to Solia.”
Rorona also lowered her head. With a bitter look on her face, she also added her opinion on the matter.
“It didn’t seem like a good idea to bury our former commander at Rainfield. It rains endlessly here…”
The man was someone’s father.
He was also someone’s strong commander.
The three mercenaries’ wish was to bury that man’s bone ash at a sunny place. Having heard this, Riley…
* * *
It was late summer.
Riley used the hand mirror to communicate to the mansion that he will be heading home today. While getting on the carriage, Riley was cringing.
“Ah, in the end, I’m going back.”
“Don’t worry too much. By the time you are back, it would be not as hot in Solia. It’s autumn soon.”
Checking the carriage, Nainiae carefully checked all items necessary for the return trip. She casually turned her head and looked at the Lightning Boulder mercenary’s carriage.
“Ms. Nainiae, are you ready?”
“We are ready. How about you?”
Having heard her question, Nara sat on the top of the carriage as if he had a carpet there to get comfortable on. He smiled and said,
“Have you heard of the old saying that says an unprepared mercenary is useless? It’s one of Mr. Ian’s statements! We are always ready thoroughly! Just say the word!”
Riley, who was still just standing on the steps on the carriage, looked at the mercenaries’ carriage. Having heard Nara’s words, Riley cringed and complained,
“Damn it all… That guy… that guy… If he meets Ian, I think he is going to cause quite a scene.”
“I think so too.”
Nainiae peeked a smile and said,
“Just like how Mr. Ian says, ‘Oh, Young Master!’ and cries, I think Nara will say, ‘Oh, Mr. Ian!’ and cry.”
Riley was acting all uncaring and complaining, but he was generous without knowing the bounds. Noticing this in Riley, Nainiae came to respect Riley even more. She smiled and mumbled,
“I think a strange situation will unfold once they meet.”
“Ugh, that sounds horrible. Don’t even mention it.”
Riley shook his body as if one of the raindrop went through the raincoat and fell on his back to give him a chill. He rushed to get into the carriage.
“Well then, we will be slowly heading out.”
Nainiae closed the carriage door after Riley entered inside. She was about to get on the driver’s seat. However, she suddenly flinched and became petrified.
Nainiae was flinching her shoulders with a pale face, breaking cold sweats. She was not able to answer Nara.
Having realized the voice calling her name, she quickly hid her hands and arms, which were shaking, and responded,
“Why are you so surprised? You said we are about to head out, right?”
“Ah, Yes… That’s right.”
She tried closing and opening her hands. She tried massaging her arms.
Her body was screaming through shivering. Nainiae barely managed to calm her body down. She tried hard to smile and responded,
“We will be heading out now. I’ll lead the way, so please follow me.”
“Don’t worry! Our Rorona had been driving carriages for years. That’s right, right?”
“Commander. If you want to keep the space on the carriage’s top for yourself, don’t you think it would be a good idea to say things in a nicer way?”
“Ah, I got it! I got it!”
Nainiae smiled as she heard them bicker and then worked away. She sat on the driver’s seat. Finally able to hide her face from others, she bit her lips hard.
Pain was spreading through her entire body. Through her lips, which was firmly closed, there was a stream of black blood falling out from it.
‘… Just a little longer.’
It was late summer.
The fall was approaching fast.