A man suddenly appeared in the place where they were having a conversation in secret. Not just Peruda, but Archbishop, mage and even the homeless had their eyes wide open.
‘This runt… he is stealthy… I don’t feel his presence at all…’
Watching the man walking towards them step by step, Rebethra crumpled his face.
‘Is he an assassin?’
He wondered about that because he didn’t feel his presence at all although it seemed this masked man had been tailing him.
Before the sentence could finish, the masked man opened his mouth first and told them what he just heard from the secret conversation.
“You are the Archbishop from the Holy Temple, yet you are teaming up with a homeless from the Lower Solia and threatening the Head of the Magic Tower. As if that was not enough, a man who committed treason is included in the scene? This is… definitely a big news, right?”
The man tilted his head slightly to the side and tossed the question. Rebethra had his face darkened for a moment, but he soon smiled brightly and asked back,
“Haha. Oh my… I don’t know where you are from, but I think there must be a big misunderstanding. Threat? That’s not what’s happening here at all. I am just asking him for cooperation.”
“Yes, just cooperation.”
Rebethra slightly nodded. The man in the mask, Riley to be precise, smiled as if he found this to be entertaining. He then asked the next question.
“You stirred up the people from the Holy Temple and sent them to charge in to the Solia Castle. Is that just cooperation as well?”
“Stir them up? What do you mean?”
Having heard Riley’s second question, Peruda looked confused. Meanwhile, Rebethra’s face could not look more violent than this.
“Just how long have you been…”
“You are not denying this?”
The voice coming from inside of the mask was echoing inside the mask, changing Riley’s voice. It was making others unable to identify the voice.
“In that case, how about the fact that you put the dark mage inside the body of dead Astroa, the dark mage that is famous for controlling dead bodies?”
Having heard Riley’s next question, Rebethra and Peruda both furrowed their brows.
The man in the mask, who appeared to be an assassin, said something that could not be taken lightly. This was why.
“Um. You are showing wishy-washy response to this question.”
Riley leisurely mumbled. He casually rolled his eyes and looked at Astroa. Astroa had been glaring at Riley since a while ago.
Astroa’s body was shaking. Riley was wondering why, but what he said right after made Riley realize why.
“You runt… You were that runt!”
Astroa’s eyes were buldging with murderous intent.
Riley wondered if he figured out who Riley was despite wearing a mask. However, it seemed that was not the case.
Riley thought so because…
“You dared to do this to me, Astroa… How dare… I am a grand mage… Ugh… Fuck. My body is… moving on its own…”
It was because his face’s left and right each had a different expression.
It was as if he was suffering from a mental illness. One side of the face was breaking cold sweat, trying to calm his body down. The other side was exuding thick deadly aura toward Riley.
“S… Shut up! The owner of this body is now… Astroa! No, Hurial!”
It seemed that the body was losing control. It looked unstable. Riley twisted up the tip of his lips as if he found this entertaining.
“Just what is this?”
Not able to figure out what was happening, Peruda and Hamil tilted their heads side to side. It was Hamil that decided to act first.
With an uninvited guest making an entrance to the scene, it seemed Hamil thought something was not right. Hamil slowly turned his body and was trying to leave the place. However, his ankle was wrapped tightly by vines and restrained him from walking.
“Where do you think you are going! You can’t run…”
While observing Astroa going berserk, Peruda used his vine magic. However, Peruda could hear shouting of an old man. It was close to a scream.
“I’ll kill… I’ll kill you.”
The old man had foams coming out of his mouth.
It was hard to believe that this man used to be the grand mage of Seven Circles that represented Magic Tower. He looked pathetic.
Looking at the masked man, Astroa kept repeating ‘I’ll kill you.’ Not able to understand it, Rebethra turned his head with a confused look.
‘Hurial is not able to control his body?’
It meant the original owner of the body was showing a severe response.
‘… Is it because of that runt?’
When the man in the mask made the entrance, Astroa’s body went out of Hurial’s control. It was going berserk, and it started when he appeared.
In other words, it meant the man in the mask and Astroa have met before. Also, the fact that Astroa was showing such a severe response meant that the mask man was related to Astroa’s death.
‘By any chance… that runt…’
Although it was not officially made known last spring, those that should know already knew well that Astroa died.
It was Nainiae, the girl with the scarred face, who killed the grand mage of Seven Circles.
‘I always thought something was odd… I thought that girl was lacking in power to defeat Astroa on her own.’
Rebethra had been suspicious of Astroa’s death.
After he died, Priesia quickly escorted to the Holy Temple the Six Circles mage girl who was full of scars and was on her way to death. Rebethra could not believe that this girl defeated Astroa.
“By any chance, are you the one who defeated Astroa last time in the Lower Solia?”
Having heard Rebethra’s question, Peruda opened his eyes wide.
“If that is not it, there is no way Hurial’s body would show severe response like this.”
Rebethra asked in sly tone. Hurial was not able to stop it from going berserk anymore. In the end, the body put forth its arm and shot the magic that it had prepared earlier.
Along with the sound of explosion, the ball of flame was launched forward, heating up the air along the path.
The target was Riley.
He slightly turned his body to the side to dodge the Fireball coming at him. Riley started to walk to the front.
“How ungrateful. You ungrateful! Kill… I must kill him!!”
Riley dodged the magic attack as if it was nothing, and now he was slowly coming toward Astroa. Watching this, Hurial, who was wearing the shell of Astroa, started to run amok, even more out of control.
“Judging from the response, I can be certain now. You are the man responsible for defeating Astroa. You used the girl with a backstory as the puppet and hid yourself… Ah, by any chance?”
While Rebethra was mumbling, Hurial, who had different expressions on each sides of his face, shot more magic attacks even though he was shaking his head hard left and right.
This time, it was not just one kind. There were multiple magic attacks, each with different innate types. They were all launched toward Riley at once.
“Die. Die! Dieeeee!!”
Riley clicked his tongue as if this was such a bother. There were attacks flying at him from the front, falling from the top, and coming up from the floor. Riley dodged them all in order as he approached Astroa.
“… Are you the Young Master?”
Riley had been moving his body all over and dodging the magic attacks. Having heard what Rebethra said, Riley’s face under the mask crumpled.
“The thing is, the timing was just too perfect. There was the word about Astroa being defeated by that girl, and… Not long after, the girl disappeared from Solia, but she was found in Iphalleta mansion, right?”
Rebethra asked the mask man as if he was just mumbling. Peruda, who had been just listening to the conversation, opened his mouth vacantly.
Besides Peruda, there was another that flinched his shoulder.
“Iphalleta… you say?”
It was Hamil.
It was because Hamil collided with the people from Iphalleta House during the time of King’s Swordsmanship Tournament.
“That… That bastard!”
Hamil was not thinking about the crime he had committed back then at all. He was only thinking that he lost someone he loved because they were done in by the people from Iphalleta House last time.
“That bastard. Because of that bastard, Beta was!!”
Because of the vines wrapped around on his ankle, Hamil was struggling at the same spot. Hamil started to yell at the top of his lung toward Riley.
Riley clicked his tongue inside because there weren’t just four people here. Aside from the four that had been having the conversation in secret, there were homeless who were hiding in Lower Solia and watching the situation.
“It is hard to believe it. You are the Lazy-Sword Young Master who people say is lazier than a sloth… To think that you are the one responsible for defeating grand mage Astroa…”
“That mask looks uncomfortable. How about you just take that mask off?”
Rebethra barely managed to calm down Hurial who was huff and puffing toward Riley. Rebethra was talking while assuming with certainty that it was Riley who was under the mask.
“Actually, I did not believe the divine message from the Priestess that said you are the one who will stop the dragon that will come to Solia. However, if you really are the one that defeated Astroa here… I have no reason to doubt it anymore.”
Rebethra wiggled his eyes and continued.
“How about it. It seems you have something that you want to keep as a secret.”
Peruda could not believe that this atmosphere was coming from a man who was supposed to be the Archbishop of a Holy Temple. Somehow, the man was creeping out Peruda. With a look of disbelief, Peruda stared at Rebethra.
“If you cooperate with us, we will forget everything that happened today.”
“What?! Rebethra, you son of a b…”
Rebethra raised his right hand. Hurial, who was huffing and puffing, waved his arm toward Peruda and completely blocked the voice coming from Peruda.
“How about it?”
Rebethra asked once again.
Riley asked back. Rebethra, with the creepy atmosphere from earlier, smiled brightly.
“… I have nothing to gain from doing so. Why should I cooperate with you?”
Facing Rebethra smiling brightly, Riley asked.
Rebethra floated a question mark on his face. Riley slowly tilted his head to the side and mumbled as if he found Rebethra’s attitude to be overbearing.
“I am the one that finished Astroa’s life. However, this is the first time for me to hear someone asking if I am the Iphalleta’s Young Master.”
“What are you talking about?”
“If you are trying to grab a hold of me and shake me, then it would be better for you if you gave up. Your deduction is way off, Archbishop.”
Under the mask, Riley said with deadly look on his eyes. Rebethra also put on a deadly look on his eyes and engaged in a staring battle.
“Are you trying to bluff?”
Riley made sounds of suppressed laughter.
“If you would like, go ahead and spread the rumor. I have nothing to lose from that. Only one who would be hurt from that would be the whatever Young Master from the Iphalleta House.”
Riley was actually breaking cold sweat, but his voice and eyes were steady.
‘If you don’t have the guts and are going to shrivel, then why don’t you just die.’
‘Was my guess wrong?’
Rebethra could see the steady gaze coming from behind the mask. Rebethra crumpled his face.
Riley was certain that Rebethra was thinking he might have guessed wrong. Riley pushed him further.
“As for me, you didn’t get the right answer, so it does not matter at all, but… What about you? Will you be all right? Will you be okay with ending your career as the Archbishop?”
Rebethra kept silent. With his finger, Riley tapped at the mask he was wearing and mumbled something that was going to be the most critical hit.
“To open the gate to the ‘World Below,’ you probably cannot afford to be found out by the people?”
Having heard what Riley said, Rebethra and Hurial opened their eyes big and strained them.
“I made a rough guess and poked at it, but it seems this is the right answer.”
“You runt… just where…”
Until now, Rebethra was using honorary form of language. Now, he started to use disrespectful form with a violent look on his face.
Riley merely baited them using what he heard from Ian. However, it felt like Riley just caught the biggest fish immediately.
“Has the table turned? As for the cooperation, it is not me that have to cooperate with you. It seems like you guys will be the ones who have to cooperate with me…”
“… Young Master!”
Breaking through the cold atmosphere, a girl’s voice could be heard.
“There you were!”
Riley turned his head toward the direction where the voice came from. Riley vacantly opened his mouth.
There, a girl who could not be more overjoyed from being reunited after a long time was standing there while blushing her face.
Buy us some coffee!