It was closer to the lunch time than morning.
Riley finished talking to Ian and then came out of the hotel. What Riley saw outside was… smokes going up in the distance towards Right Solia.
“What is that?”
The scenery of Right Solia viewed from Left Solia looked suspicious. Riley furrowed his brows and looked around to check the situation.
Other people in Solia who appeared to have been just passing by were all stopped as well. They were looking at the direction of Right Solia where the smokes were coming up. They had anxious looks on their faces.
“Excuse me. What happened?”
Ian tapped on the shoulder of one of the people who were looking at Right Solia. In Riley’s stead, Ian asked him what this was about.
“The Magic Tower is…”
It seemed the man was worried. He had anxious look on his face. By Ian’s question, the man vacantly mumbled,
“The Magic Tower collapsed.”
The man mumbled in a low voice, so Ian didn’t quite hear that. Ian asked again, and the man explained again.
“The Magic Tower, the Magic Tower collapsed. At its top, there were what appeared to be lights flashing… All of sudden, the tower leaned to the side and just like that…”
Having heard the man’s explanation, Riley, who was looking at Right Solia, directed his gaze toward where the Magic Tower was.
Having examined the view again, Riley noticed that the Magic Tower, which used to be eye-catching because its top peaked out above everything else, was now gone.
‘What is this?’
Looking at the collapsed tower, Riley crumpled his face, wondering what was going on. Riley thought about Peruda, the current head of the Magic Tower who said he was going to seal entrances to the Lower Solia.
‘Just what did he do to make the tower collapse?’
Even if the dark mage from the Rainfield was revived, it was probably impossible for him to collapse the tower by himself.
The building’s wall was made of marble stones that were sturdier than ordinary things, which contributed to the building’s stability. Moreover, inside the wall, there was a special protective spell that only the head of the Magic Tower could disengage.
These were certain facts that Riley have heard from Peruda when he went to see the Magic Tower last time.
“The bigger problem is the direction which the tower collapsed.”
The man continued with concerned look on his face.
“The direction is… toward the Holy Temple.”
“The Holy Temple?”
The man raised his finger and pointed it to where the smokes were coming up. Ian and Riley directed their gazes to the direction.
“The direction which the tower leaned and collapsed is toward the Holy Temple. In other words, the smoke is…”
Not just the Magic Tower, but the Holy Temple was destroyed as well.
Riley realized what the man was trying to say. Riley had a mysterious and complicated look on his face.
It was because Rebethra, the one he was going to tail today, was a part of the Holy Temple.
‘Just what’s going on?’
Confused, Riley looked at towards Right Solia and narrowed his eyes. The man who was standing next to them gathered his hands and started to pray as if he could not let things be.
“I am worried. At this time, the Priestess must have been praying there… Ahah… I hope the Goddess Irenetsa helped her.”
It seemed he was a believer. The man started to pray to the Goddess of the Holy Temple. Riley looked at the man, and as if he thought he could not let things be, he promptly started to walk.
Ian followed behind Riley. Looking at Riley’s back, Ian asked what he was going to do.
“Young Master, what are you going to do?”
Ian had a reason to ask. Their original plan was to go straight to the Lower Solia after leaving the hotel.
Having heard Ian’s question, Riley postponed answering. Riley walked and rolled his brain.
There were two choices.
First one was going to the Lower Solia and finding out about the corpses. The second choice was going to Right Solia which was now a complete mess.
“What is your intuition telling you?”
It was a hard decision to make, so Riley decided to trust a mercenary’s intuition.
“I think we should…”
Initially, before all this, Ian proposed that they should go check out the Lower Solia where corpses were instead of going to Right Solia where Rebethra must be at. Ian now took a moment of pause. He said,
“… go to Right Solia.”
Having heard Ian, Riley kept on walking without saying anything. He went to a corner with no traffic and brought his hand to his inner chest pocket.
“Well then, we’ll go there.”
Riley put on the mask that he purchased two days ago and quickly moved in Right Solia’s direction. Ian also put on the mask and followed him.
* * *
The situation in Right Solia could be summarized in those words perfectly.
The Magic Tower was the tallest building there. With it collapsed to the side, not just the Holy Temple, but several dozens of buildings were destroyed with it.
“There was a huge destruction like this here, but we didn’t hear anything.”
From the collapse, there were injured people, crying child who lost the parents, and wreckage of the buildings here and there… Riley looked around the mess and mumbled about the ridiculousness. Ian said,
“Have you forgotten? Right Solia has sound-proof device installed. We probably could not hear the sound when we were at Left Solia because… of that.”
Having heard Ian’s explanation, Riley looked at Right Solia’s entrance, the top of the stairs to be precise where the floating spherical marbles were. Riley clicked his tongue as if he was convinced.
Riley was looking around the situation again. He then furrowed his brows as if he noticed something strange. Riley mumbled,
“Are the guards from the castle coming late because of that too?”
It was because he felt that there were far too few guards around the place.
“Now that you mentioned it, that really is. Even with the sound-proofing, when something this big happened, they must have seen it… I don’t see that many of the forces from the castle.”
It seemed Ian was thinking the same as Riley. He started to count the number of guards who were helping the injured and crying children.
It was when the two were observing the situation in Right Solia. Not too far from where they were, a scream in fear could be heard.
Having heard the scream, Ian opened his eyes big. Ian and Riley exchanged gazes in the split second and ran toward the direction of the scream.
“S… Save me…”
‘Oh god, here too?’
In a single breath, Ian ran to where the scream came from. Having arrived at the scene, Ian discovered a woman who was about to get attacked by a corpse. Ian gritted his teeth.
Fortunately, Ian was able to get there next to the woman before it was too late. He drew the sword from his waist and swung his arm.
Ian’s sword exuded blue light from carrying mana. His swing created a long after image and sharp echo.
The corpse lost its head. The corpse seemed like it was hardening, but it was only for a moment. It seemed cutting off its head was not enough to stop it. The corpse started to move again.
When the fallen head on the ground screamed, the headless body charged toward Ian as if it was responding to the head.
“W… Watch out!”
The woman seemed to have suffered a leg injury. She was sitting there crunched down. Having noticed the dead body moving, she mumbled. Ian lowered his body as if he knew and then swung his sword.
Blue light left many after images as it drew long tail. The corpse that was charging at Ian stopped once again.
Two of its arms, which were cut vertically, fell and made thump noises.
Its waist, which was cut horizontally, fell and made a thump noise.
The corpse’s body was cut for the second time, and the body parts fell to the floor. The woman was watching this. It seemed she could not stomach what she just saw. She quickly covered her mouth.
“You have no time to sit here and throw up.”
As if he was trying to say not to watch anymore, Ian stood between the woman and the corpse so she could not see the corpse. Ian extended his hand toward the woman and continued,
“Unless the body is incinerated or cleansed with holy power… this bastard will move again.”
Woman looked at Ian who was wearing a mask and shriveled. Having heard what Ian just said, she panicked and asked,
“I… It will move again?”
“Please get up for now. I’ll support you, so please get out of this place as quickly as you can.”
The woman thought Ian was suspicious because of the mask. However, she changed her mind. She grabbed hold of the hand of the man that just saved her life and got up.
“T… Thank you. Thank you.”
Ian was helping the woman get up. Ian casually turned his head and looked at where Riley was standing just now.
It was only for a brief moment, but the Young Master who Ian served was gone somewhere. He was gone from Ian’s sight.
Ian figured out why Riley left the scene. Ian left the woman in the hands of the guards and looked around. It was to check if there was anyone else who was in danger like the woman earlier.
In the distance, Ian found an injured person crushed under rubbles and an existence that was approaching. Ian opened his eyes big and rushed out.
“Don't you dare!”
The existence in rags was approaching the person crushed under rubbles. Ian only saw the back, and he assumed it was a corpse. Ian was about to swing his sword and prevent loss of life. In Ian’s ears, a voice could be heard.
“… Are you all right?”
It was a human’s voice.
“Back, back! Look at your back!”
The injured man under rubbles noticed Ian and shouted to warn the person under the rag. The person in rag getup slowly turned the head.
Ian, who jumped up into the air, was going to swing his sword as he landed. However, having heard the voice of a girl that somehow sounded familiar, he narrowly stopped the sword in time.
The girl under the rag, who turned to look at Ian, casually glanced at the sword aimed at her neck. She vacantly opened her mouth.
Looking at the sword aimed at her neck, the girl broke cold sweat. She smiled awkwardly and asked politely,
“Could you please… withdraw your sword?”
“… Y… You are?”
Ian saw who it was under the rag. Finding it to be unbelievable, Ian furrowed his brows. The injured man under the rubbles asked in a hurry without a care of his own well being,
“A… Are you all right, Priestess?!”
“Quiet… I am sorry. I’ll introduce myself later. He seems to be seriously injured, so…”
The girl under the rag brought a finger toward her lips and said ‘quiet.’ Priestess Priesia put forth her hand toward the man who was crushed under the rubble.
“P… Priestess. You should get away. That masked man… He looks suspicious somehow.”
Having heard that, Ian burst into anger inside. He got a vein bulging on his forehead as he put forth his hand.
Ian put his fingers below the rubbles that were crushing the man and then gritted his teeth.
The rubbles looked heavy enough that it seemed having a dozen strong men was not going to be enough to lift it. However, it started to get lifted slowly. The man who was under the rubbles opened his eyes big and looked at Ian.
“T… This… How could this be?”
“Ah, ah, yes…”
By Priesia’s holy power, his legs, which were turned to pulp from being crushed earlier, were restored enough that he could walk. The man tumbled and got the legs out. The man lowered his head and said,
“T… Thank you.”
“You can walk, right? Please go to the guards.”
“W… What about you, Priestess?”
“I still have things to do.”
It seemed she was being chased by someone. Priesia held down the rag further to hide her face. She casually turned her head and looked at Ian who was wearing a mask.
“I think it will be similar to what he was going to do.”
“I… I see.”
“Also… To the guards… Please do not tell them that you saw me. Can you promise me that?”
Ian looked at Priesia and tilted his head side to side, confused. Priesia continued,
“I beg of you.”
Priesia was respectfully requesting them to keep this a secret. It was making Ian’s head complicated.
‘Why is that?’
When the Magic Tower collapsed, the Holy Temple was collapsed as well. There had to be many people who were worried about her safety, but she was trying to keep her identity secret. Ian could not think of a reason for this… no matter how hard he thought about it.