A girl made an entrance to the place of secret conversation. Looking at her, Riley’s mouth opened vacantly.
At a timing that was completely unexpected, a person who he was not expecting at all showed up. This was why.
She was not wearing the maid uniform that she always had been wearing at the mansion, so Riley almost did not recognize her at first.
She was wearing a white collared button up shirt, beige colored long skirt and scarlet outwear resting on her shoulder like a cape. It was waving like a cape. The only thing that changed about the dark haired girl was her clothes. However… Unlike before, she had a mysterious atmosphere to her.
When she made the entrance, Peruda, who was looking around while restraining Hamil, also had his mouth open vacantly.
‘That child is…’
Her left hand, which looked shabby from missing a few fingers, and the right side of her face, which had scars and dead white eye, were as they were before.
While even forgetting to blink, Peruda was just staring at Nainiae who was standing on the other side.
“I am sorry, Young Master… I tried to come back as soon as possible, but the training ended up taking longer.”
She seemed like she was feeling shy and overjoyed from being united after so long. She was blushing. Her face was as red as the apple she was holding.
‘That child is?’
Rebethra had been glaring at Nainaie’s face ever since she entered the scene. Having heard her voice, Rebethra narrowed his eyes and looked at the masked man.
‘Wait a minute. That means?’
The look on Rebethra’s eyes were changing constantly. Riley furrowed his eyebrows, finding the situation to be a major headache.
“Young Master, it is an apple. It’s late fall now, but… Fortunately, there are some left.”
Nainiae knew who it was under the mask. However, she could not also know the expression that the man under the mask. She showed the apple that she was holding on her both hands and smiled timidly.
Riley felt like it was only yesterday when he told her to develop some basic sense for situations and common knowledge while he and Nainiae were at the Rainfield. He was glad to see her, but on the side, he felt frustrated. Sigh leaked out of Riley’s mouth.
Right when Riley sighed, explosive laughter leaked out of Rebethra’s mouth.
“Ha, hahaha! As I thought… As I thought, it is you, Young Master Riley. You almost completely fooled this old man.”
Rebethra looked at Riley and Nainiae back and forth and started to make belittling laughter sound. Nainiae, who had been smiling timidly while holding the apple, floated a question mark on her face and tilted her head side to side.
“Who are you?”
Having heard Nainiae’s question, Rebethra waved his hand around as if he was trying to apologize. He extended his hand to the side and showed her Astroa, who was standing next to him.
Nainiae had only been staring at Riley until now, so she could not check the surrounding. She closed her lips.
“Thank you. I was about to get fooled by Young Master, but thanks to you…”
Rebethra wiggled his eyebrows with a shady look on his face. There was a shouting from a man behind him. Rebethra turned his head back as if he found the shouting unpleasant.
“Nainiae! You! Because of you, Beta is!”
Before anyone noticed, the purple rings that had been circling around the homeless man’s mouth to keep him under silence spell was gone.
Nainiae also faced the man who was glaring at her with deadly intent towards her.
It seemed she did not give a damn about what Rebethra said or showed to her.
“How shamless of you… You are wearing nice clothes, had been shoving good foods down your stomach… It looks like you had been living well like that? If you cared about Beta at all, don’t you think you should not be doing that? You useless…”
Hamil had been pouring out harsh insults toward Nainiae. Nainiae quietly mumbled his name and then continued in a rather low voice.
“Before I fall asleep, I always think about what happened to me in my past. Of course, I think about Beta still. Despite what happened, still… I considered her as my family once.”
Her eyes contained overpowering pressure.
It was the kind that could not be explained in words.
Hamil thought it couldn’t possibly be from someone who was a human being. Feeling the pressure, he could only open and close his mouth like a fish.
“I could not protect Beta.”
“Still, now… I don’t think I have done something wrong where I deserve being criticized and get fingers pointed at me by you or others.”
Nainiae faded the end of her sentence. Before long, her face had already turned gloomy.
“It was pickpocketing. Although it was to make a living… Hamil… What you and Beta did were definitely wrong. Consider it as a punishment for what you have done. I also… have things I have done wrong.”
Nainiae was thinking about the time when she indiscriminately shot magic attacks at the Main Plaza of the Solia because Beta asked her to.
“I’ll pay for my sins one day. Still, I…”
With determined look on her face…
Nainiae looked straight in Hamil’s eyes and calmly continued mumbling.
“Still, I don’t think I need to be subjected to criticism.”
“If you are still going to say I am selfish, then it does not matter. I am able to stand proudly. I used my magic only to protect someone, and I never used magic for any other reasons.”
Nainiae paused for a moment. She gazed upon the apple she was holding. She looked at it with loving gaze, as if it was the most lovely thing in the world. Nainiae mumbled in a serious tone,
“I used to think I just… want to die. I only had been suffering losses and enduring pain. I was exhausted from my life. I thought that I had been living just so I can die one day.”
“Now… I definitely want to live. I think that way now.”
Nainiae grabbed on to the apple tighter. Her eye contained resolve that she never showed before. With that clear eye, she looked at Riley.
‘Young Master, here, look! It’s an apple!’
With her sparkly eyes, she was telling Riley that with just her gaze. Riley sighed and looked at Nainiae.
‘It is not the apple that I need right now?’
Riley also responded just with his gaze. He looked at her with a dumbfounded look on his eyes. Nainiae tilted her head side to side as if she was trying to ask why Riley was responding like that. Finally, Nainiae discovered Rebethra and Astroa.
A question mark floated up on Nainiae’s face.
“Shut up! I said shut the hell up! Beta… Bring back Beta!”
Hamil kicked off the vines that had been restraining his legs. Hamil shouted at Nainiae who was standing on the other side and then started to charge toward her.
Nainiae turned her head again and looked at Hamil who was running toward herself.
The expression on her face conveyed a sense of disappointment and pity. Nainiae raised her hand.
“I am sorry, Hamil.”
Nainiae mumbled Hamil’s name. Although there was no wind, the scarlet outwear resting on her shoulder waved once.
“B… Bring her back…”
Hamils steps looked like it was gradually getting slower. He eventually got on his knees all of sudden, and… he fell forward starting with his head.
‘Just now, what was that?’
Peruda, who just witnessed what happened, opened his eyes big.
He knew a sleep magic.
However, the problem was that… The spell that Nainiae just used was done without reciting any spell and without any trace of mana movement. It was done literally at a blink of an eye.
“Even if it is for a while, stay there and dream. Later… I wish we could have a long conversation in front of Beta’s grave.”
Nainiae mumbled while looking at Hamil. Now, Nainiae turned to look at Rebethra and Astroa. She waved her right arm in a large motion from left to right.
“Young Master, I am sorry. How should I say this… I was unable to resist? I was so overjoyed… No, what I mean is, the situation was such that it was hard for me to realize what was going on, so…”
Limply moving her right arm around, she made the apple to float in the air again. She looked at Riley. As if she was ashamed, she fiddled with her fingers.
“A… Anyway, I fixed it.”
Having heard what she just said, Riley slowly rolled his eyes and carefully looked at the space behind her.
The scenery around the place was distorted a little.
Riley got a rough idea of what she meant when she said she ‘fixed’ it. As if he found the mask confining and stuffy, he took it off and revealed his face.
“It is good that you fixed it, but just don’t cause the accident in the first place. You get it? If you came back, why didn’t you just stay in the mansion? Why did you follow me all the way to the Solia…”
“… Because I missed you.”
“N… No! It’s nothing!”
Riley kept his face hidden tightly behind the mask until now. Now that Nainiae could see his face clearly, Rebethra, who figured it was Riley all along, narrowed his eyes, wondering why they were acting like that.
Looking at the distorted space, Hurial mumbled.
“What is that?”
“It makes a kind of barrier on the area. It is a Seven Circles magic. Unless the caster disengages the magic or a stronger mage forces the magic to be canceled, nobody can escape this magic.”
Having heard Hurial’s explanation, Rebethra put on a violent look on his face as if he found the situation to be annoying. Rebethra ground his teeth.
Peruda, who had been eavesdropping on their conversation, strained his eyes in disbelief and looked at Nainiae.
‘She was at Six Circles just last spring. That child is now at Seven Circles?’
It was hard for him to believe that the girl who used to be trapped in the Magic Tower’s basement went from Six to Seven Circles in just two seasons. However, Peruda was more shocked about the fact that she used space reversal, a magic that was counted among the high level magic in Seven Circles, and still appeared to be completely fine.
‘Nainiae, you… just how…’
It was past the early autumn. It was now late autumn.
Magic Tower and Holy Temple both estimated that her life will not last until the autumn even if it lasted long.
Perhaps Nainiae noticed that Peruda’s eyes were full of worry for her. Nainiae’s eye, which was looking at Riley, slowly moved to the side and met with Peruda.
‘It has been a while, Mr. Peruda, my teacher.’
Nainiae gave him a refreshing smile to greet Peruda. She looked at Riley again.
“Young Master. Can you please give me a quick summary of the situation?”
Astroa, the one who Riley killed before, was alive and fine here. Rebethra was glaring toward this direction with a violent look on his face. Nainiae was asking Riley to explain them. Having heard her request, Riley…
“They are enemies.”
He responded with just three words.
Riley mumbled leisurely. Nainiae pulled her chin as if she understood it immediately. She asked,
“Well then, what should I do?”
Her question reflected her confidence. It conveyed the confidence in herself. She was certain she could eliminate them immediately as soon as the order came.
“Can you do it?”
She looked like she changed a lot from how she was before. However, she was also exuding atmosphere that felt the same as always… So, Riley peeked a smile and asked.
Nainiae also smiled big.
“I am not sure? They say you can’t know for sure unless you put them next to each other and see which one is longer.”
“Excuse me… Did I say something wrong?”
“No… I just thought you made a great progress, so…”
Having heard Riley’s compliment, instead of feeling embarrassed, her shyness was taking the front seat. Nainiae started to purse her lips.
“Well, all right.”
Actually, Riley didn’t even bring a sword here. He shrugged as if he was trying to say that he will just sit back and watch. Because Andal said he wanted to play the part of being a teacher, Riley had Nainiae to be under his care for about two months. With a curious look on his face, Riley said,
“… Try it.”
Nainiae stepped forward and said,
Nainiae was aware that Astroa was a powerful foe that she could not have defeated by herself if this was last spring.
That was not all.
There was Archbishop Rebethra as well, who Nainiae could not tell his true intent or identity. Rebethra was also one of the enemies that Riley explained earlier.
Despite that, she thought,
‘The apple, I should cut them for Young Master soon.’
Her mind was full of only the thoughts about giving Riley the apple that she had floating using mana.