After talking to his father at the office, Riley’s memories from the past life and the present life were starting to get all jumbled up. Riley realized he was no longer in good condition, so he said to his mother,
“I think I’ll have to go on a travel for a while.”
Every winter, Riley always barricaded himself in the library and enjoyed reading books in front of the fire place with cocoa. Now, out of the blue, he was talking about going on a travel when it was winter, not summer. Iris tilted her head to side and asked,
“Yes. Now that Big Brother Lloyd became the successor… I just… For a few reasons, I would like to go enjoy going on a trip during the winter.”
Concerned that his mother will be worried about him, Riley didn’t mention anything about the problems with his memories. He just said he wanted to organize his stuffy mind.
“Of course, I’ll allow it, but…”
Thinking what Riley just brought up must be the confusion and doubt during the puberty that came late for him, Iris nodded without any objections. She then watched her son with concerned look on her face.
“It is cold, so you are probably not going to the Rainfield, right? Where are you planning on going? Have you decided on a destination?”
It seemed Iris was worried. She asked several questions at once. Riley put up an awkward smile and asked her to ask one question at a time.
“I didn’t decide a place in particular, but for the general direction, I would like to try going to the west.”
It was the place that they had to go to handle the business related to Nainiaie.
“to the west…”
Riley also didn’t mention the matter regarding Nainiae. Riley avoided his mother’s gaze and moved his eyes away slowly.
‘There is no need to make her worry, so…’
Iris watched her son who was hesitant to look at her in the eyes. It seemed she was finding it suspicious, but she brightened the look on her face soon and said to Riley,
“My Riley… you won’t do something like not contacting like before, would you?”
For a moment, Riley didn’t understand what Iris was trying to say. He asked carefully,
“Like what happened when you were at the Rainfield.”
Riley opened his mouth vacantly like someone who just remembered something. Riley apologized to Iris with ashamed look on his face.
“I am sorry. During that time, there was a circumstance that could not be helped.”
“… It’s all right.”
Riley smiled like a fool. Watching his son, Iris stroke his son’s head as if she just could not help herself.
“You just need to make sure to not repeat the mistake.”
Do not repeat the mistake… Having heard Iris, Riley nodded with a bitter look on his face. Iris finally got to face Riley. She smiled gently and said,
“If you repeat the same mistake?”
“When that happens, you need the courage to reach out to another for help… the courage to ask for help to not repeat the mistake.”
Having heard her gentle advice, Riley, who was vacantly opening and closing his hand, relaxed the bitter look on his face a little and nodded.
* * *
The night when Riley told Iris that he will go one a trip, Iris asked Sera to come by. Iris steadily glared at the cup of tea that Sera poured before speaking.
“Sera, are you aware that Riley will be going on a trip tomorrow?”
“Ah, yes! I think I definitely heard that… he will be heading west? Nainiae told me. Now that they have Lady Iris’ permission, she will be preparing so they can leave immediately tomorrow. Is there a problem?”
This time, Sera asked, and Iris responded with a bit of hesitation.
“I have a favor to ask.”
As soon as Iris said that, Sera got excited as if she thought it was so unexpected, about as unexpected as the sun rising from the west. Sera looked at Iris and waited for her to explain the favor.
“When Riley leaves the mansion tomorrow, I would like you to go with him.”
“Pardon? Me too?”
Sera pointed to herself and asked back.
“It seems Riley looks a little… unstable. That’s why.”
“Young Master is?”
Iris nodded. With concerned look on her face, Iris asked Sera again.
“Can you please do that?”
“I’ll be okay, but… If I do, there won’t be anyone beside you?”
Now, Sera also looked concerned. Iris responded right away as if she thought there was no need to worry.
“It’s all right. I asked Willa.”
“To Ms. Willa?”
Willa was Sera’s boss.
Thinking about her strict maid boss, Sera gulped.
“She said she got some spare time now ever since Lloyd was declared as the successor.”
In middle of the sentence, it seemed she thought about Ryan who was kicked out of the mansion. Iris showed gloomy face for a moment before continuing.
“Anyway, Sera. Please, I’m counting on you. Ian is very lacking in fine details. As for Nainiae, she still has things she is not so experienced in. I feel uneasy with just Nainiae and Ian accompanying Riley.”
Compared to the butler who served Riley, Sera had a smart, snappy personality. Iris thought having her go with Riley along with everyone would be helpful.
“Yes, I understand.”
Sera figured out what Iris was trying to say. She made tight fists and nodded.
“… By the way, what do you mean by Young Master Riley not looking so stable?”
“Ah, that is…”
Iris had a mysterious look on her face as she thought hard about something. Iris said,
“I really think he is going through… puberty.”
“Puberty? Young Master is?”
Sera snickered after hearing what Iris said as if she understood. Sera said she will thoroughly carry out the task given to her and left Iris’ room.
After Sera left the room, Iris gave a blank stare to the empty space as she wondered if she should not have told Sera honestly about the puberty. She pondered about it for a long time before she fell asleep.
* * *
“Ms. Sera, we are about to head out soon!”
It was right before the lunch. Sera, who was now going with them on the trip, was nowhere to be found. Nainiae shouted in front of Sera’s room to call for her.
“Ah, wait just a minute! Just a minute! I’m almost done!”
It seemed she had a lot of luggage. Her bag looked like it could tear open at any moment. Carrying the bag on her back, Sera responded to Nainiae’s call and tumbled to walk to the garden.
“That lass, geez.”
“Sera, are you trying to move and settle on a new house?”
There were a few maids and butlers there to see the Riley’s group off. Having noticed the size of Sera’s bag, they either laughed or clicked their tongues. Sera, who was struggling because of the bag, snapped back.
“There is nothing wrong about being thoroughly prepared. Why don’t you all mind your own business?”
“Sure, you are the expert, aren’t you?”
Sera walked to the corner of the garden. Having noticed that the area looked like they had not prepared anything for the trip, Sera tilted her head to the side.
“Excuse me… We are going today, right?”
There was nothing.
To be precise, Sera looked at Riley and Nainie vacantly staring at the garden wall. Ian was also just holding his chin, wondering what this was about.
“Young Master, if you are going on a trip, shouldn’t you prepare a carriage? We need to check the conditions of the wheels and the horses too before heading out… Also…”
“No. There is no need. We are going to walk there.”
Having heard Riley interrupting Sera and stating they will be traveling by foot, Ian and Sera had their eyes turned into huge circles.
They had a good reason. It was none other than Riley who just proposed traveling on foot in this cold winter. This was why.
‘He really is going through puberty.’
Sera mistakenly believed now that Riley must really be going through a stormy period. Sera smiled proudly and nodded.
“Of course, west is pretty far, so I don’t plan on just walking.”
“Now that I think about it, I don’t think you mentioned exactly where you are intending to go? Are you going to just travel on foot without a particular destination?”
Although the trip was for Nainiae, Riley didn’t bring that up. He responded half a tempo late.
“Um? Ah, yes.”
“Young Master, shall we get going now?”
It seemed Nainiae just finished preparing the thing that Riley asked. Nainiae, who had her eyes closed and focused on something, turned around to face the others and asked.
“Go? What do you mean?”
“Ah, by any chance…”
Sera tilted her head to the side. It seemed Ian got a bad feeling about it. He started to break cold sweats.
It was not certain if Riley noticed the look on the two behind him. Riley just nodded, and Nainiae turned to face the wall again as she said,
“Well then, I’ll open it.”
Nainiae waved her left arm in a large motion. The space around her started to distort. The wall, which had nothing, suddenly developed a hole.
“The doorway will be maintained for about a minute, so we need to enter before the time is up.”
When Nainiae mentioned the doorway, the hole, which was the size of a palm, started to grow. It spun like a vortex and became enlarged enough for a person to go through.
From what Riley said earlier, the hole in front of them definitely looked like a teleportation magic.
“By any chance… Is this… magic?”
Ian have heard before about a magic spell that allowed one to travel a long distance instantly. Ian carefully asked, and Nainiae nodded.
“Yes. It is teleportation. To make the move easier, instead of a magic circle on the ground, I made it in the form of a gate.”
Teleportation was something that Nainiae was not capable of performing before. However, she was not even breaking sweat now. Instead, she just casually explained the magic she just used.
“Oh my… What is this?”
“She said it is t… teleportation.”
“Isn’t that incredibly difficult to cast?”
Witnessing otherworldly sight happening at the corner of the garden, the few servants who came to see Riley and everyone off had their jaws dropped as they stared at the doorway.
Riley also vacantly stared at the doorway that Nainiae made for a while. He then quickly entered the door.
“Ah, like Young Master…”
It was not certain if Riley heard Nainiae. He didn’t stop walking. Instead, he walked through the door and disappeared without a trace. Ian gulped.
“W… Well then, we will get going now!”
Unlike Riley, who got sucked into the doorway without saying anything to the people, Nainiae said goodbye to everyone. She gestured to Sera and Ian to follow her.
“Ms. Sera, Mr. Ian, please come over, quickly. When it closes, it will take a while to open it again. It will be a little dizzy for the moment when you cross through it, but you won’t throw up… Well then, I’ll go first.”
With that as her last words, Nainiae walked to the door and got sucked in just like Riley. She disappeared without a trace. Now, there were just Ian and Sera left. They started to glance at each other.
“Come on! I… It’s not like this is going to kill us, right?!”
They both stood there vacantly in front of the door. Of the two, Sera closed her eyes tightly and charged in.
It sounded like a whirlwind. Along with that sound, Sera also disappeared, and Ian flinched his shoulders.
The door was getting smaller. Looking at the door, Ian was still hesitating about if he should enter or not.
“Excuse me, Mr. Ian? It is about to close?”
“Will it be all right if you don’t go?”
Fellow butlers carefully came behind him and asked Ian. Ian shouted like a hedgehog raising the needle spikes.
“S… Shut up! I am going!”
* * *
“… You are here. Where’s Ian?”
Having gone through the doorway, Riley was waiting for the rest to arrive. He asked Sera who arrived later.
“Pardon? I… I am not sure… I just charged in, so…”
Sera said she didn’t look back when she went through the door. Nainiae stared at the doorway with concerned look. The doorway was gradually getting smaller.
“Excuse me. Young Master, somehow, I am getting a bad feeling about this.”
It seemed Riley was also thinking the same. He quietly watched and waited for Ian to show himself through the doorway.
It was not certain how long they waited in silence.
When about 30 seconds have passed, the doorway that Nainiae made had become narrow. It was now at a size where only a small child could go through.
Sera watched the doorway getting smaller. Concerned and wondering if it was all right to let it be like this, Sera looked at Nainiae.
“N… Nainiae… Could Mr. Ian… get swept up in the magic the wrong way and…”
Sera carefully muttered. Nainiae shook her head and said,
“The magic didn’t fail. If it failed… Mr. Ian’s body would had been transported here all mixed up or only a part of his body would have been transported.”
The results were terrifying and horrible just to think about. Sera gulped.
“The fact that nothing is happening means…”
Although it could be said nothing happening was a good thing… the problem was that nothing, even something so horrible, was happening.
The doorway that Nainiae opened was getting smaller even as they thought about this.
The doorway was now so small that only a baby could pass through. Looking at the shrinking door… Sera vacantly mumbled Ian’s name.