“What is this?”
With the letter on his grip, Ian looked at the letters that said ‘dark mage’ several times. Ian turned his head while shaking his hand.
“… Y… Young Master!”
Despite his loud calling, Riley was sleeping with his mouth wide open. He just kept on enjoying sweet afternoon nap.
“Young Master, Young Master! Please wake up!”
Because Riley didn’t wake up from Ian calling for him, Ian quickly jumped to the top of the carriage and woke up Riley by shaking his shoulder.
“Uuu, um… What is it? Are they done already?”
Riley felt like it hasn’t even been 30 minutes since he started to sleep. He cringed big, got up and started to rub his eyes.
“If they finished treating the children, we just need to get going, so why did you wake me?”
Riley had his cringed face toward Ian. With the look on his face, Riley was trying to say it was such a bother. However, Riley saw the look on Ian’s face. Ian looked as violent as an orc. Riley straightened his cringed face and gulped.
Ian brought his face very close to Riley. It was getting uncomfortable. Riley unconsciously pulled back and stuttered,
“What is this?”
Ian, with his eyes wide open, showed the paper to Riley. It was a thin piece of paper with a few lines of words written.
The paper said, ‘Young Master, it is that bastard. The dark mage from the Rainfield was revived.’
“… What about it?”
Having read the letter, Riley had uninterested look on his face. He tilted his head side to side and asked. Ian was going to shout something loudly, but he shut his mouth like a child with honey on his mouth.
Ian sighed big enough to sink the ground, and that somehow made Riley concerned. Riley got a hold of the paper that Ian put forward and read the content once again.
[Young Master, it is that bastard. The dark mage from the Rainfield was revived.]
The Solia Holy Temple’s Archbishop.
One of the men with purple aura.
Riley was suspicious of Rebethra, so he had Nara to dig his background, and now, this letter came flying in. This meant…
‘The bait was bitten?’
It meant Rebethra bit the bait that Riley tossed just in case.
‘This complicates things a little since some other guy bit it instead of Kabal.’
The dark mage from the Rainfield was also one of the people with purple aura that Nara mentioned.
Riley thought about Rebethra, Kabal and the dark mage.
Rebethra was the Archbishop from Solia.
Kabal was a famous mercenary from Ansyrium.
The dark mage was recently active in Rainfield.
While thinking about them, Riley saw Ian’s face in front of him and flinched.
“What, why are you like that?”
“Young Master, are you trying to hide it again?”
Ian, with annoyed look on his face, was glaring at Riley as if he was going to burn a hole through the face with his gaze.
“… Hide what?”
“You don’t need to ask me what this old man is talking about. You know well what I’m asking about, don’t you?”
It seemed Riley was at a loss for words because of Ian’s gaze and tone. Riley just had his mouth open with a vacant look on his face. Ian raised his hand and suddenly grabbed on to Riley’s shoulder.
“You are going to make my ear fall off.”
Ian’s loud voice was enough to make other people passing by to glance at them.
Concerned about it leading to more bothersome things, Riley was going to handle this quietly by himself. However, with his butler persistently biting on to the topic and not letting go, Riley slowly rolled his eyes.
‘I think this might cause me more exhaustion if I don’t tell him.’
Ian was holding Riley’s shoulder tightly, and his eyes were in flames. They said he won’t let go of this hand unless Riley explained what this was about. Watching Ian like this, Riley thought about an advice that Iris gave him a long time ago.
‘Riley, there is no such thing as a secret that you can hide forever.’
They said a mother’s advice is always right. She was not wrong.
In fact, in the process of the successorship competition, Riley gave Ian a glimpse of his swordsmanship skill.
“Ian, this is really nothing special, but…”
Riley mumbled as if he was finding all this to be icky. Ian had a violent look on his face. As if he was trying to say Riley should still tell him, Ian brought his face closer to Riley’s.
“This will take a long time to explain.”
“We need to wait a long time anyway for the children to get treated and come out of the Holy Temple.”
“Please tell me!”
This time, Riley sighed like Ian from earlier.
* * *
It was autumn, but it was still raining in Rainfield. In an abandoned building with a pretty good atmosphere, there were several existences gathered there. It was unbelievable that they were all in the same place.
“How many hundreds of years has it been since the last meeting?”
“The last one was over a thousand years ago.”
“Really? I was sleeping, so I didn’t know.”
There was a blindingly bright silver colored elf, a shiny gold colored orc, a vibrant green colored tree, and an ocean blue colored mermaid.
Four different kinds with each very different characteristics were gathered there and having a conversation.
“He is not here yet. He said he is bringing a pupil and asked us to wait.”
“A pupil? What’s a pupil?”
“You know that thing that humans do. Things like education.”
“That guy really is an oddball. An oddball.”
“I asked him to bring the pupil. Ah, I think he is here.”
An elf was flaunting her silver hair. The beautiful elf turned her head and mumbled. The space that she stared at started to distort.
“Uu. I just can’t get used to Rainfield. This humid air… It is the worst.”
The distorted space had a burst of light, and Andal and Nainiae made appearances.
“Wow, this is a surprise? Everyone is really here?”
Nainiae stood next to Andal, confused. Andal patted Nainiae on the back hard and walked to the table where the four existences were sitting together.
The silver haired elf said,
“No, one of us is not here.”
“One is missing? Ah, you are right? How come?”
“It was impossible to get in contact. Even the lair was empty. Maybe it is because of an amusement tour.”
“Even so, shouldn’t it be possible to contact each other? So busy to the point of not being able to reply to calls?”
The elf answered Andal’s questions. She looked at Nainiae who was standing there all confused. The elf made a gesture with her hand to tell Nainiae she should sit anywhere comfortable.
Having noticed the gesture, she lowered her head and carefully sat at a corner. The ones gathered at the table started to have a conversation with Nainiae as the main topic.
“Hum, so that’s her, right?”
“Andal took her to be pu… pu what again?”
“So, the human who Andal took to raise as his pupil is her?”
“I would like to have her fight a duel against my guardian spirit.”
“Don’t bother. She appears to be a female and look all weak and fragile. Have you forgotten? Humans are weak? If you kill her, Andal is going to be furious.”
They each said a line to discuss about Nainiae. Andal slowly walked to the table and sat. He butt into the conversation as if he was not going to let it continue like this.
“Don’t make me laugh. The orc that you took in is not going to be able to lay a hand on even the tip of Nainiae’s toes. There won’t be need for a long fight. It will end in 30 seconds.”
“30 seconds? Puhahaha! Andal, it seems like the thousand years made you become more boastful!”
“Huhu, you think I’m just full of empty air? Should I boast some more? It will take at least five high elves.”
With his arms crossed, Andal mischievously smiled and said with confidence. A tree, a human with tree trunk skins to be exact, shook the head and clicked the tongue.
“Now, now. Everyone, that’s enough. We are gathered here for a different reason.”
The silver haird elf calmed everyone by saying there is a more important matter than Nainiae. She promptly went into the main point.
“I asked all of you to gather here in Rainfield because, as I explained briefly earlier, I felt a strange energy in this place.”
“Just what’s all this ruckus about?”
“It was a few days ago.”
The elf in front of the table started to explain.
“This suspicious energy that I felt in Rainfield is… similar to mana, but it was completely different from mana.”
“Completely different from mana?”
“I am not sure how to describe it. Compared to mana, it somehow felt sticky and unpleasant.”
Nainiae was sitting at a bit of distance from the table and observed the beings having conversations. Feeling the energy emanating from them, Nainiae gulped.
‘Are they all dragons like the master?’
Starting with the silver haired elf who was sitting in the main seat, golden skinned orc, a tree man with tree-bark skin, a mermaid with fishtail, and red haired Andal… The energy felt from each of them were all extraordinary. Nainiae could be certain of this.
‘They are dragons, right?’
<That’s right. Everyone gathered here are all great beings. At the moment, they are on amusement tours, so they all have their appearances changed.>
To resolve Nainiae’s curiosity, a whispering voice could be heard in Nainiae’s ears.
It was Heliona, the spirit who lived with her in Andal’s lair.
“There were total of three humans who possessed that energy. They were here in Rainfield. If I didn’t borrow the power of the spirit and watched the visual from the past, I would not have come to believe it.”
Having understood this far, the dragons nodded and started to ask questions.
“You didn’t make us assemble just for that, right? It is not like three humans roaming around in a group is all that unusual.”
The dragon who currently assumed the form of a tree man asked carefully. The silver haired elf nodded and continued,
“Those beings with sticky energy showed movements that threatened the balance.”
Nainiae, who had been tuning in to the conversation, furrowed her brows.
‘Threaten the balance?’
The silver haired elf sighed, and continued on to finish what she couldn’t earlier.
“In other words… they are interfering with the fate.”
Having heard her words, everyone, including Andal, crumpled their faces.
“Now, tell us, human child.”
The silver haired elf turned to look at Nainiae who was sitting on the corner.
“Through the spirit, I saw what happened there in the past. I know you were there at the Rainfield. About what happened there that day… I would like you to tell us.”
Now, even other dragons turned their gazes to look at Nainiae.
“If you don’t want to, I could tell the story… if you are okay with that.”
Having heard the elf, Nainiae hesitated for a moment. She got up from her seat and carefully started to talk.
“So, I ran into a dark mage in Rainfield.”
She explained that, according to Riley who ran into the dark mage several times, the dark mage’s ability was different from magic which used mana. It was like a separate ability that didn’t need mana.
Considering what they know so far, it seemed certain that this was the ‘sticky energy’ that was mentioned earlier.
“Like me, he used black colored magic, and… Separate from magic, he had the ability to raise the corpses and control them.”
After her words, the silver haired elf nodded as if she was trying to say that Nainiae was telling the truth. The elf added to say there was more.
“Making a dead body to move at will is something that we dragons can do. It is just a puppet play. The problem is… the soul.”
“Your name is… Nainiae, is it? How would you feel if you saw someone who died, and completely became dust on top of that… yet is standing right in front of you and very much alive?”
Nainiae vacantly asked. The silver haired high elf lifted her finger and pointed at Nainiae’s white eye.
“That eye can locate the existence that the person you are facing is thinking about, right?”
Although she didn’t know how it worked, Nainiae had that eye from the Magic Tower’s experiment. Nainiae carefully nodded.
“How about a human who already died?”
“I’ll ask in a different way. About the human that I’m thinking about right now, by any chance, can you locate where he is?”
Having heard the elf’s question, Nainiae vacantly stared at her fair eyes. Nainiae suddenly opened her eyes big and turned her head.
“What is it? What’s wrong?”
Nainiae had her eyes wide open as if she was shocked. There were two reasons for this.
First, the dark mage who was incinerated in Rainfield was found alive in Solia. The second thing was…
‘That man… How did he?’
The grand mage Astroa, the one who died in Solia last spring, was very much alive and moving around.