‘Sheath is… Why?’
There was sheath on Ryan’s sword.
It was a very narrow opportunity, but it was more than enough for someone as skilled as Stein.
‘I am not sure how, but…’
Ryan, who was possessed by murderous intent, seemed like he was still not aware of the sword being covered with the sheath. He still had his eyes strained and glaring at his farther, ready to swing the sword.
Stein’s eldest son was about to commit sin. Stein was infuriated to the tip of his head. He put forth his remaining arm and charged in.
Noticing Stein’s movement, Ryan was about to strike down the sword, but he gritted his teeth and looked surprised for a moment.
‘This imbecile finally decided to cross the line.’
Not just Stein’s arm, but it seemed Ryan was going to cut through his body as well. Ryan was swinging his sword with tightly gritted teeth. Stein also gritted his teeth and extended his arm toward the sword coming at him.
The swung down sword, the sword covered in sheath to be exact, was blocked by Stein’s arm and made a blunt sound. It seemed Ryan finally realized his sword was covered in sheath. His eyes shuddered.
‘What is this? Why is the sheath there?’
He didn’t think about the sheath issue for long. Mad to the core, Stein’s face was red. His face came into Ryan’s field of view.
“I am disappointed, Ryan. Considering what happened with Oluli, it is not like I never thought this could happen, but to think you would do this instead of Lloyd…”
Even more agitated by what his father said, as if he thought he couldn’t let himself to be stopped like this now, Ryan started to inject mana into the sword.
Becoming of the Strong-Sword title…
It was to swing the sword like this and cut the target without being blocked by anything.
“I’ll command you for the surprise attack. However, your method is no different from that of an assassin.”
With violent look on his face, Stein also poured in mana into his arm and threw off the sword to the side before Ryan’s sword edge could become sharp.
“To call you an assassin, compared to your upper body, your lower body is lacking in strength.”
As if it was Stein’s final expression of love for his son who tried to commit sin, Stein pointed out Ryan’s faults as a skilled swordsman observing a lesser skilled swordsman. Stein tripped Ryan’s legs and made him fall.
“Lloyd would not have such weak lower body.”
“Just because you received the title of Strong-Sword!”
Ryan fell to side. Stein stepped on Ryan’s shoulder and neutralized him. Looking down at Ryan, Stein said,
“You only trained your upper body!”
As if he was still trying to swing the sword, Stein’s eldest son was crumping his face. Stein kicked Ryan’s wrist with his remaining foot and continued to point out Ryan’s faults.
“That’s why you are in this predicament!”
The sword left Ryan’s hand, and Stein quickly kicked away the sword. He then quickly put his hand down, grabbed Ryan’s head and smashed it to the floor.
It was an incredibly hard smash. Along with that violent sound, the floor where Ryan lied cracked.
“Choose. Die here or get kicked out.”
It seemed Ryan was having difficulty talking. Ryan stuttered as he grabbed on to the tip of his father’s pants.
It seems looking at his son grabbing on like this reminded Stein about kicking out Oluli, his first wife, during the last spring. Stein slightly furrowed his brows.
As if this was his last display of mercy, Stein spoke with strength carried in his voice.
Ryan only had one option.
Being kicked out.
Just like what Oluli choose last spring.
Without saying anything, Stein withdrew his hand that was pressing down Ryan’s face and got up. Ryan struggled and got up. His tight fists were shaking.
‘We will see about this.’
Ryan mumbled like that inside. He grabbed the Iphalleta insignia on his clothes and tore it out. He laid it down on the floor and turned around.
Stein watched the back of Ryan who was leaving the mansion. Feeling the gaze on himself, Stein faced Ian who was vacantly staring at him while standing on the corridor.
“Did you do that?”
“Pardon? Ah, that is…”
Stein looked at Ryan’s sword rolling on the floor, the sword covered in sheath to be exact, and asked. Ian pursed his lips and looked at the corner behind him.
Ian thought about what Riley said earlier when he charged out of the corner. Riley snatched Ian’s sword and said ‘I’ll borrows this for a moment.’ Ian broke cold sweat and said,
“… Yes. I did.”
“I did it.”
Ian repeated and said it was him that did it. Stein glared at Ian, picked up the sword laying on the floor and asked,
“Yes. Because you… appeared to be in danger, so…”
Ian responded as he nodded. Stein slowly turned his gaze and looked at his waist.
“I understand about the sheath, but what happened to your sword?”
“Your sword. There is just the sheath here. What happened to your sword that was originally placed in your sheath?”
“T… That is…”
Having heard the question, Ian fiddled with his waist for no reason. Again, Ian slowly turned his head and looked at the corner where Riley was standing. He was no longer there.
“Ah! T… There it is! I dropped it there! Oh my… Because I’m old, it seems my memory comes and goes sometimes. Hahaha!”
Looking at the sword laying on the floor of the corner, Ian sighed in relief inside. He walked over there to pick it up. Stein took out just the sheath from Ryan’s sword and handed it toward Ian.
“Try placing that here.”
“Your sword. Just like how you did it before, try putting it here.”
“Count Stein… Just what are you asking?”
Ian tilted his head to the side and asked, not able to understand what Stein was asking. Stein waved around the sheath on his hand and explained slowly.
“I am asking you to re-enact it. What you just did earlier.”
Having heard what Stein said, Ian put on blank look on his face for a moment.
Ian looked at his sword and gasped for air.
“N… No! How could I do that with sword to you, Count Stein?”
“You did it only a moment ago, didn’t you?”
“… That is!”
With a serious face, Stein was ordering Ian to show him what Ian did earlier. Ian broke cold sweats like a water fall. Ian said,
“That was… possible because it was a sheath. It was honestly a gamble. I would not have betted on it unless it was a sheath.”
At this very moment, Ian was thinking about the last time when an assassin came to the mansion.
At that time, when Ian was struggling with the assassin, a short sword was pierced in at the assassin’s chest. Ian just realized it was Riley who threw it. This was why Ian was thinking about that moment.
Ian was able to realize this because of what he just saw.
‘At that split second… He threw the sheath and placed it precisely on the sword that Young Master Ryan was about to swing. This is not something that can be done with simple luck.’
During that time with assassin, the short sword that pierced through the assassin’s heart after flying in diagonally could not have been accomplished with pure luck.
Also, during the successorship competition, when Riley was slaughtering orcs targeting Alieve town… Riley threw the swords he was wielding without hesitation, and they pierced through monsters necks.
Moreover, Riley used six swords back then.
“You can’t do it?”
“I fear that… you could get hurt, Count Stein. So, I think it would be best not to try it again…”
“It is just that you can’t do it.”
Ian was petrified.
“Was it Riley?”
Ian’s shoulder flinched.
“It was Riley.”
“It was Riley who did it, right?”
“Ian, you had always been clumsy at lying.”
Stein tossed the sheath to Ian and sighed.
“I wonder if I raised my children wrong… I am worried.”
Ian placed his sword inside the sheath that Stein gave him. Having heard Stein’s mumbling, Ian had a concerned look on his face.
“Two of my sons had been hiding their true selves to me all this time… It is a little… heavy to think about.”
“He must’ve had a reason, right? Does Iris know?”
Ian’s head felt heavy. He nodded his head as a replacement to a verbal reply.
Stein massaged the shoulder that was missing the arm. He slowly turned his body.
“Will you… be all right?”
Ian carefully asked about the punishment that Stein dealt to his eldest son who was about to commit sin.
“Surprise attack for the second time will not work, so it does not matter.”
Stein’s eyes were gleaming with deadly aura. Ian lowered his head as if he understood.
* * *
“Ian probably wrapped it up correctly?”
For some odd reason, his hand was numb. Riley repeated closing and opening his hand. He mumbled as he walked toward the library.
“I feel like I’ll be found out somehow. Should I go there again?”
He was half worried about if he should go back to wrap things up himself. The other half of his worry was about if he should have just thrown a sword and killed Ryan. Riley stopped walking.
From the other side of the corridor, there was a woman who was wondering around. It seemed she got lost inside the mansion.
It seemed the woman noticed Riley who was walking toward the library. She brightened her gloomy face and came toward him in light steps.
‘Uuuu… I get the feeling this will be annoying.’
Feeling what is coming, Riley crumpled his face. He looked around to see if there were any butlers or maids.
‘How come they are always not here when I need them like this?’
Having realized there were no butlers or maids around, Riley resented Nainiae for no reason, who must be working at the kitchen at the moment. Riley looked at the woman coming toward him and cringed.
“What brings you here?”
“I am sorry. I got lost in the mansion. Can you please lead the way for me?”
The woman was wearing a dress.
Her legs were completely covered, but her chest area was very low cut. It fully showed off her collar bones and voluptuous chest.
The design could be mistaken as a bar maid dress, but the dress, which had the design that could make men’s heart to flutter, seemed to be letting it be known that the wearer was of a high nobility. The dress had laces of graceful design here and there. The dress gave an unapproachable impression.
Riley looked up and down at her dress. He then found a man who was quietly following her on the back and narrowed his eyes.
‘Is he a bodyguard? Judging from the mood, she doesn’t appear to be a daughter of some ordinary nobility.’
The man didn’t say anything. He merely stood behind the woman. Riley, who was looking at the bodyguard, turned to look at the woman again and asked,
“Where are you headed?”
“Ah, that is…”
Hesitant, the woman started to twist her body as if she was embarrassed.
“N… No! Not toilet!”
She held both of her arms tightly around her chest and twisted her body. Watching this, Riley popped a vein on his forehead.
“If you have no business, then I’ll just get going. I am busy.”
It was not that he was busy, but he was sick of annoying things, so he was just trying to escape the scene. Having heard what Riley said, the bodyguard who was standing behind the woman furrowed his brows as if he was finding Riley’s words unpleasant to hear.
“Ah, wait! Please wait a minute!”
Riley’s clothes was quickly pulled to the back.
It was because the woman grabbed his sleeve when he was about to walk away.
Riley seemed annoyed and disinterested regardless of what kind of body the woman had, what kind of dress she wore, or how she was behaving. Riley flinched his eyebrows and stared at her as if he was trying to say she should hurry up and get to the point.
“What is it? If you don’t make it quick again, I’ll just get going.”
Riley complained. The bodyguard placed his hand at his sword handle.
“Stop. Don’t even think about causing a commotion at our host’s mansion.”
The woman ordered in a low voice. The guard lowered his head and withdrew the hand he placed on the sword handle. The woman carefully said,
“The thing is, I am looking for a specific room.”
“Is it your room?”
The woman shook her head and said that was not the case.
“No. It’s not my room… It is…”
Riley was about to explode. The woman blushed and smiled big. She explained the room she was looking for.
“I’m looking for Young Master Riley’s room.”
Riley pointed finger at himself and asked. The woman opened her eyes big as if she was shocked. She also pointed at Riley.
“By any chance, are you Young Master Riley?”
Riley nodded to say that he was.
The woman gasped and stepped back. She started to quickly check her clothes and hair.
“Uuuuaaa. What do I do! What do I do!”
Watching the woman not knowing what to do and panicking, Riley floated a question mark on his face. The woman quickly fixed her dress and her hair. She then lowered her head.
“This is my first time meeting you! I am a daughter of Duke Philisneon House… Reutlina Philisneon!”
‘You are from the Duke’s family?’
Her position was significantly higher than what Riley thought. Riley lowered his head properly and greeted her. The woman, Reutlina Philisneon, lifted her head and said with red tinted face,
“I am supposed to meet you tomorrow for prospective marriage, so I thought it might be good to come and say hello to you first, so…”
Hearing hear word made Riley’s thought process to halt for a moment.
It was because of those two words.