Riley brought the missing children safely back to the village. He made up a reasonable story to explain that the children need to be taken to the Holy Temple immediately.
“I… I see. In that case, I’m counting on you.”
Having heard Malto’s response, along with the children, Riley started to walk toward the prepared carriage. Ian, who was still next to Malto, explained the rest on Riley’s behalf.
“We disposed of all orcs, so you probably don’t have to worry anymore.”
“Yes… But, did just ‘two of you’ really handle that many orcs? Honestly, I cannot believe it.”
Having heard the question, Ian thought about Riley’s movements and the number of orcs that Riley slayed. Ian was about to say ‘no, most of them were disposed of by the Young Master alone.’ However, he closed his mouth.
‘That is, Riley wanted it.’
It was because the request that Iris made during the last spring felt like it was ringing in his ears.
What Riley did not want…
What Iris wanted…
Having thought about the two things, Ian put back what he was about to talk about. Instead, he said,
“Yes, that’s right. We handled them by ourselves, just the two of us.”
“Well then, we are going to make haste and go to the Holy Temple now.”
“Ah, yes! Yes!”
Inside, Ian asked ‘Lady Iris, this much is probably all right, right?’ With Malto to his back, Ian started to walk toward the carriage with thirty children.
“Let’s get going.”
Ian looked up at Riley sitting on the driver’s seat and tilted his head side to side.
“Why are you not on the carriage?”
“Look at the back.”
Riley used his thumb to point behind over his shoulder. Ian looked at the direction. As if he realized the reason, he didn’t ask anymore and just sat on the driver’s seat.
“Look at this carriage. It’s really amazing.”
“I think that big brother earlier must be a high nobility.”
“Children, don’t be a nuisance. Stay still.”
“Big sis, you try touching this too! It feels really interesting!”
“This sofa is so soft.”
The carriage probably was not designed for this kind of occasion. However, there were thirty children inside the carriage and chatting about the soft sofa or the wall papers with patterns.
“Surprisingly, all of them got in there.”
“It looks a little tight in there, but it doesn’t look like anyone is complaining.”
Perhaps it was because they were raised in a small town with rough environment. It seemed they were so impressed that they got to ride on a carriage that they may never get to ride on in their entire life. Although it looked tight in there, the children didn’t complain. They waited for the carriage to start heading toward the Holy Temple.
“Well then, we are going to get going, all right?”
Ian, who grabbed on to the leash, looked back toward the children and asked. The children, who were on the sofa or the floor, responded in excitement.
The carriage wasn’t a carriage for a count’s house for nothing. Although the carriage started to move, the large space was not rattling at all. The children, with their eyes wide, started to talk to each other.
“It… it’s moving!”
“It’s so amazing. It’s not rattling at all.”
Riley focused on the voices of the children on the back, but it was only for a moment. Thinking he can relax now, Riley sighed and supported his chin with his hand.
“… I’m ruined.”
Ian, who was carefully driving the carriage, asked what he meant by that.
“I worked too diligently today.”
The look on Riley’s face said all this was such a bother. His face was full of it. He sighed again and said,
“I’m going to sleep for the next two days.”
Riley complained like that, and he sounded serious. Ian, who was looking at Riley from the side, smiled lightly and looked to the front.
“… Young Master.”
Riley, who was observing the sceneries passing by, responded in uninterested voice.
“It’s about your swordsmanship. I always wanted to ask you once. What you showed us during the spring is strange, and what you showed today when you were slaying the orcs are also strange… Let alone training, you never once held a sword, so just when did you master all that?”
When did you master swordsmanship like that?
Judging from the content of the question, it seemed Ian concluded Riley learned it by studying it alone.
The movements were definitely not in Iphalleta’s textbook, and even Stein didn’t show movements like that. It was not strange for Ian to think like that.
“I just roughly… had been imagining them in my head. That’s all.”
‘Imagining in my head? Those swordplays? Those movements?’
Riley realized what he just said could be mistaken for something else very easily. Although he was the one who said them, even Riley thought perhaps he shouldn’t have. However, Riley at least maintained the uninterested look on his face.
“In that case, how did you do that with the mana? A while ago… you even sent telepathic message.”
Having heard the question, Riley became stiff for a moment. Soon, as if it was nothing, Riley asked back,
“Telepathic message? What’s that?”
Riley decided to act like he didn’t know about mana. Riley already planned to say ‘Ian, maybe you are getting hard of hearing?’
Ian laughed, casually turned his head and looked at Riley. Riley furrowed his brows as if he was trying to ask ‘what did I do?’
Ian seemed proud somehow. He had that look on his face. Ian looked to the front again. With a voice with mixed emotions, Ian said,
“I think I was not wrong.”
Having heard Ian’s voice, Riley didn’t respond. He just kept silence and looked at the direction that Ian was looking at and casually smiled.
All the way to the Holy Temple, Ian didn’t ask about that anymore.
* * *
Inside a cave that was large enough to make people drop their jaws in awe, there was a dark haired girl standing alone.
The girl had this huge space for herself. With her eyes gently closed, she moved her lips, and a few dozen dark flames started to exude light around her.
<It must be great being Nainiae. She is just a human, yet she is even being taught by the master.>
In the empty cave, only the girl could be seen. However, there was another voice that could be heard, the kind that was definitely different from the girl’s voice.
“No, Not really.”
The girl extinguished the flames and said that was not the case.
“Ms. Heliona, you are the one who is amazing.”
The girl complimented toward the empty space. The voice, which appeared to be jealous of Nainiae, changed the tone instantly and said as if she was embarrassed.
<Come on, Nainiae, why are you saying stuff like that again? You are embarrassing me!>
The girl, Nainiae, was having a conversation with the voice that could be heard from the empty air. Feeling a presence behind her, she slowly turned her head and looked at the man who was walking toward her.
The man was a good looking young man with flame like red hair.
It seemed the man was not feeling awkward about being called a master. He continued to walk toward her. He asked her straight,
“You went to Rainfield with Riley during the summer, right?”
“Pardon? Ofcourse we did. You sent us there yourself, didn’t you?”
Nainiae tilted her head side to side, wondering why he was asking such a question, and asked back. A suppressed laughter could be heard from the empty space.
<Master. Did that happen because you have been in the form of a human? What was that called? The illness where a human starts to lose memories after getting old… Ah! Dementia! Do you have dementia?>
Having heard the voice, the red haired young man turned his gaze toward the direction where the voice came from. He threatened by saying,
“Unless you want to be unsummoned, it would be best for you to keep your mouth locked tightly, Heliona.”
“Spirits always have the problem with their mouths… So, you definitely went there, right?”
Andal looked at Nainiae again and asked the same question. As a replacement for a verbal response, Nainiae nodded to tell him that she had.
“By any chance, did Riley cause an accident in Rainfield?”
Having heard the question, Nainiae tilted her head side to side again, looked to the cave’s ceiling and had a look on her face as if she didn’t know very well.
“I’m not sure?”
She looked like she was trying to hide something. Andal was sure that Nainiae was sparing the words because of his friend. Andal sighed and explained why he asked.
“My kinfolks are going to gather. It has been a while since we have, but I have heard that the place of gathering is Rainfield.”
“… I see.”
Andal narrowed his eyes as if that was not the end of it. With seriousness, Andal asked,
“I heard a suspicious energy was felt in Rainfield?”
“Really? By any chance, are they talking about the Young Master…”
Having heard Andal’s words, Nainiae flinched and mumbled with a concerned look on her face. Andal shook his head and said,
“No. It is not that rascal Riley. My kinfolks are already well aware of his existence. They just don’t mind him because he is sitting around on his butt.”
“You know something, don’t you?”
Judging from the look on Nainiae’s face, Andal knew something was up. He turned around immediately and made a gesture with his hand toward Nainiae to come along.
“Follow me. We are going to Rainfield.”
“M… Me too?”
“It’s a gathering among my kinfolks, and it has been a very long time. While there, I’m going to discuss the matter about the Rainfield and also tell them what I have been up to.”
Nainiae tumbled and followed behind Andal. A whisper could be heard in Nainiae’s ears.
<I think he is going there just to show off his pupil.>
<Hup? Yes, master!>
“You follow me too.”
<… I… Won’t it be better for me to just stay here and watch the lair?>
* * *
After the carriage with the Alieve village’s children on board arrived at the next village, Ian took the children to the Holy Temple. With a relieved face that said he just resolved a big case, Ian returned to the carriage.
“Young Master, I took the children to the Holy Temple. The priest said the illness is at the early stage, so there is no need to worry so much, but because there are thirty children, it will take a while…”
As he returned to the carriage, Ian explained what he have heard from the temple. However, having noticed that Riley was snoring while lying on the top of the carriage, Ian stopped explaining and sighed.
‘That’s all right. He worked pretty hard today, so…’
Ian thought that Riley moved a lot today unlike his usual self. Ian gave up on waking up Riley and sat on the carriage’s stairs.
‘… I’m going to end this in a flash.’
Ian was thinking about how Riley swung his sword without any fear despite facing over a hundred orcs.
“Kuhup, Young Master!!”
It was a mystery how Ian managed to hold it in until now. Looking at Riley, who was lying on the top of the carriage and snoring, Ian started to tear up.
Even at that moment, the magnificence and bravery that Riley showed was being re-broadcasted in Ian’s head.
“I… I am…!”
Ian wiped off the tears using his sleeve.
He could hear a long cry.
It was a bird.
A predator type bird with wide wings waving in the air was circling above Ian’s head.
Ian was sniffling while being soaked in emotions. Having heard the bird above him, he turned his head up wide and looked at the bird.
Ian noticed a letter tied to the bird that was circling in the air. He narrowed his eyes and raised his right arm.
The bird carefully landed on his arm. Ian noticed that the bird was a messenger that mercenaries used often. He carefully untied the letter on the bird’s leg.
[To Young Master Riley]
Judging from what was written on the top of the letter, it seemed the message was for Riley.
‘Did Nara send this?’
There was a messenger bird that mercenaries used often.
The letter was addressed to Riley.
Based on those, Ian concluded that it must be Nara, who was heading to Solia, was the one who sent this. To read it in Riley’s stead, he carefully opened the letter.
[Young Master. It’s that bastard.]
After going over the first line on the letter, Ian furrowed his eyebrows, confused.
Ian continued on to the next line.
[The dark mage from the Rainfield was revived.]
What dark mage?
Having read the content and wondering what this was about, Ian didn’t just flinch his eyebrows. At that same moment, his facial muscles started to flinch.