“… What did you say?!”
Because of snow storm that started in middle of their path, Riley and others decided to rest for a bit at a cave nearby. One of them screamed.
“J… Just now… What did you say?”
“Ms. Sera, please calm down.”
“Do you think I can calm down?!”
While resting, they decided to prepare lunch too, so they were at it. However, it looked like something was up between the two. Riley, who was looking outside the cave, scratched the back of his head. He looked like he was not sure about what to do.
“Y… You are not yet cured of your illness? You are not completely well? I thought you came back after being healed completely!”
It seemed Sera was very shocked by what Nainiae just told her. Sera strained her eyes in concern and looked at Nainiae.
Facing Sera, Nainiae had apologetic look on her face. Before Sera worried more, Nainiae said she won’t be dying at least.
“I’m on this trip so I can be healed.”
“Young Master! Did you know about this all along?”
It seemed Sera was feeling she was tricked. She quickly turned her head and started to stare at Riley. Riley avoided her gaze and said,
“So, this trip is also for that?”
Sera asked in disbelief, and Nainiae nodded.
“It’s because of me.”
“I didn’t even know this and…”
There was a flame that was flying around the area. To be precise, the flame was Heliona, the summon spirit. Sera looked at Heliona and put up dumbfounded look on her face. She then turned her face red as if she was mad as she glared at Nainiae.
“Nainiae! Nainiae, you really…!”
Sera was half shocked and half upset. With those feelings in her heart, Sera glared at Nainiae. Sera tightly grabbed on Nainiae’s shoulder and started to talk as if she was disappointed.Read The Lazy Swordmaster first at https://lightnovelbastion.com (If you're reading this elsewhere, then it's stolen!)
“Why didn’t you say anything to me?”
“I was concerned you might worry like this.”
It seemed Nainiae was sorry. She was unable to look at her in the eyes. Nainiae merely fiddled with her fingers. Watching this made Sera even more angry. Sera shook Nainiae’s shoulder.
“Actually, we were never going to tell you, but… since you ended up going with us on the trip, Young Master said it would better to tell you, so…”
“Young Master did?”
Sera was yelling at Nainiae while holding her on the shoulder. Sera casually turned her head and looked at Riley who was sitting near the cave’s entrance.
Riley’s eyes met with Sera’s, and he shrugged.
It seemed seeing Riley shrug made Sera feel a little better. She sighed big time and looked at Nainiae again.
“All right. At least you told me now. It’s fine.”
Nainiae, with sincere look on her face, apologized. Sera placed her hands to rest on her waist and said,
“I knew something was up. It was not like our Young Master to say he wants to go on a trip during the winter. I thought it was so out of the blue that I wondered if the sun was going to rise from the west the next morning…”
“In that case, I guess Lady Iris was wrong about her worries. That’s unusual also…”
“That’s right… Actually, I was added to this trip because she was worried about our Young Master. She asked me to go with you.”
Sera didn’t cause ruckus for long. She went back to preparing the lunch again. She watched Riley who was sitting at the cave entrance and slowly blinking his eyes.
“Well, looks like maybe Lady Iris was just overly concerned.”
Listening to Sera mumbling, Nainiae steadily watched Riley as she thought that Iris’ worries were not baseless. Anxious, Nainiae bit her lower lips.
While Nainiae was deep in her distracted thoughts, Sera wiped off her hands with the apron. It seemed she was done with preparing the lunch. She went to Riley.
“… Young Master? Young Master!”
Riley was blinking his eyes as he watched the snow storm outside. He was about to doze off, but because someone shook his shoulder, he opened his eyes big and turned to look who it was.
“H… Here is your meal.”
Somehow, Riley appeared to be on the edge. Sera shriveled as she gave him lunch.
“I’m sorry… What time is it?”
“It’s almost 1 pm. You were awake only a moment ago. Did I wake you up at the wrong time? Would you like to go back to sleep?”
“Ah, no… It’s fine.”
Last night, although he left Sera to be on guard through the night, Riley merely had his eyes closed without actually falling asleep. He was awake through the entire night until the morning. Riley rubbed his sleepy eyes and got up.
“It smells great.”
It seemed they made a different course from the stew yesterday. The delicious smell made Riley smile. He walked to the inside.
“A… Are you all right? You look very tired.”
Now, not just Nainiae, but even Sera could notice the tired look on Riley’s face. It looked that bad.
It had not been long since they started the travel, yet he was already like this. Let alone handling the rest of the trip, it looked like Riley should be concerned about how he would look when he contacts the mansion through the mirror.
“It’s nothing! It’s not like they have seen me looking sleepy only a few times, right? If you are that concerned… I’ll get some shut eyes after eating.”
Riley’s hand was shaking due to lack of sleep. He forced himself to have his hand calm down and lifted the spoon. Having seen this, Nainiae bit her lips as if she was worried.
‘If I used sleep spell on Young Master… No, that’s no good. Young Master will be angry with me if I did.’
In the past few days, or perhaps weeks, Riley was not getting sleep. Having noticed this, Nainiae tightly grabbed on to her skirt. It seemed she looked upset.
‘What should I do? Is there anything I can do… Is there nothing?’
Nainiae mumbled inside. As if she read Nainiae’s mind, a flame bloomed on Nainiae’s shoulder.
<Are you worried?>
It was Heliona.Read The Lazy Swordmaster first at https://lightnovelbastion.com (If you're reading this elsewhere, then it's stolen!)
“Yes. A little… No. I am very worried.”
<Um. I know. I can see how you feel from the look on your face.>
Because of what Heliona just pointed out, Nainiae rubbed her face and corrected her expression. Wondering if Heliona had any suggestions, Nainiae looked at the summon spirit.
<Even I am not sure about this. We summon spirits cannot fight the need to sleep. Even my master cannot win against that. I always thought nothing in this world can beat sleep, yet…>
Having mentioned even Andal, her master, Heliona stared at Riley, the human who was fighting off sleep, as if she was disgusted by him.
<That one over there… No matter how big of a fiend he is… I think something horrible will happen if he keeps going like this.>
Instead of chewing on food, Riley was eating as if he was biting off a piece of rag. Heliona fiddled with her chin and turned again toward Nainiae who looked very anxious. Heliona asked,
<What did he say as the reason for not sleeping?>
“That is… I do have one reason I can think of, but it is not something I can tell you without his permission, so…”
<Ugh. You humans sure have your lives so complicated.>
Wondering if there was any great idea, Heliona leaned on Nainiae’s cheek and thought hard about it together. Heliona mumbled,
<Um… Well then, it cannot be helped?>
* * *
It seemed the snow storm outside was pretty strong. Although it had been a while, the storm was not showing any sign of winding down. Riley made a suggestion to Nainiae,
“… Let’s keep going.”
Having heard the sound of the wind outside the cave, Sera didn’t know what to do. She asked with concerned look on her face.
“It cannot be helped. We don’t even know how much further we have to go either, so…”
Riley got up from his seat and mumbled. Nainiae, who was rolling her thumb around, had similar look on her face. Nainiae said,
“Young Master, even so… don’t you think it might be a little dangerous? In a snow storm like this, we could get separated from each other too.”
“That’s why we took in two wolves. If not… you can use magic too.”
“That’s true, but…”
“All right. Let’s get going. My body aches because I had been trying to sit still.”
Having heard Riley, Nainiae and Sera both glanced at each other.
‘Of all people, Young Master just said that?’
This was quite the contrary to what Riley was doing earlier. Earlier, Riley was dozing off, blinking his eyes with blank look on his face as if he was mesmerized by something.
‘I need to move.’
If this was any other day, Riley would have spent the time away taking day time naps while lying down. Now, he was saying his body was aching to move. He didn’t really mean that.
He was trying to keep his eyes wide open by forcing himself to move continuously.
“I’ll get going first. Follow me.”
Riley got outside into the snow storm. Sera, who extended her arm toward Riley, turned to look at Nainiae, not knowing what to do.
“N… Nainiae… shouldn’t you stop him?”
Nainiae spared the response. Contrary to what Sera was hoping for, she straightened her knees and got up.
“Now, we should head out too.”
“It will be all right.”
Unable to comprehend Nainiae, Sera was about to have an argument with Nainiae about this. However, Sera noticed the determined look on Nainiae’s face. Sera relaxed her crumpled eyebrows.
It seemed Sera trusted Nainiae. Sera followed suit and got up. She also got out of the cave, in to the snow storm.
‘Uuuu… the snow storm is…’
Sera faltered because of the harsh wind. The snow storm was so severe that she couldn’t see what was right in front of her. She started to look for Riley who went out into the open first.
Sera covered her face with her arm and called Riley. She realized the intensity of the snow storm that was harassing her had subsided substantially. Sera opened her eyes big.
“Ms. Sera, are you all right?”
It seemed Nainiae used magic.
Unlike how the scenery looked, something was resisting the snow and wind. It suddenly became easier to move. Sera lowered the arm she used to cover her face and called for Riley again.
Unlike them, Riley was walking through the snow without Nainiae’s magic. Having noticed Riley, Sera quickly followed him.
“Young Master, please wait! I’ll cast resist magic for you!”
Nainiae operated mana inside her body and extended her hand toward Riley.
Having heard what Nainiae just said, Riley turned. As if he understood it, he made an okay sign with his right hand.
‘… Ms. Heliona, help me.’
Having noticed Riley’s hand, Nainiae nodded lightly and looked at her own shoulder.
Despite the snow storm, the summon spirit of flame was burning up in full force. The spirit locked her eyes with Nainiae and nodded.
<You need to buy me pudding later, all right?>
With her hand to the front, Nainiae prepared magic and casted not the resist magic but sleep magic.
Although she said it was resist magic, she cast sleep magic instead. She felt guilty inside, but hide her emotion and hoped she would not be found out. Read The Lazy Swordmaster first at https://lightnovelbastion.com (If you're reading this elsewhere, then it's stolen!)
‘Please, he must not notice this.’
Nainiae thought Riley would withstand the spell if she just cast the sleep spell, so she chose this method.
<That guy is already on his last leg. It’s ridiculous that we have to cast sleep spell like this to him in the first place, but…>
Heliona was helping Nainiae to use the magic. Heliona mumbled as she broke cold sweat.
‘If I get scolded for this, that’s that… I can’t just sit and watch this anymore.’
Nainaie apologized inside. She gathered up all of her mana, even ones she didn’t know she had, and used them all to cast the sleep spell on Riley.
“You don’t need to cast something like this for…”
Riley was standing there and looking back toward where Nainiae was. His eyes slowly closed. At the same time, his body also slowly tilted.
Because Nainiae said it was resist magic, Riley let his guard down. Also, it seemed the exhaustion from days worth of lack of sleep came rushing at him at once. Riley collapsed to the front as he fell asleep.
“Y… Young Master?!”
Sera didn’t know what was really happening. She saw Riley suddenly losing consciousness and collapsing. She tumbled and rushed toward Riley.
Fortunately, he fell to the snowfield, so he didn’t fall hard. The problem was that it looked like he just fainted.
“Nainiae! Young Master has… Huh?”
Sera turned to look at Nainiae who cast magic on Riley. Sera had a question mark on her face.
Only a moment ago, Nainiae was behind Sera. Now, she was gone without a trace.
“… Young Master.”
Only a moment ago, Nainiae was behind Sera, but now she could hear Nainiae’s voice from the front. Sera blinked her eyes vacantly and turned to look at where Riley was.
Nainiae was there.
It seemed she used a short-range teleportation magic. Nainiae instantly appeared in front of Riley. She supported Riley who was a sleep. It looked like Nainiae could cry.
“I am sorry. I’ll receive the punishment later.”
“Ugh, I thought you disappeared.”
Sera was worried how they were going to move if Nainiae was gone. She sighed in relief and came next to them.
“How’s Young Master?”
“He fell asleep. That’s all.”
“Did you do it?”
“Yes. I… did it.”
Nainiae held Riley a little tighter in her arms. She bit her lips and said,
“In the past few days… no… few weeks, he didn’t get proper sleep. I was concerned about his wellbeing, so…”
“Few weeks? I definitely saw him sleeping during the morning?”
“He probably just had his eyes closed.”
“For now, let’s go back to the cave.”
Nainiae looked at Riley sleeping. This time, she used a more powerful resist magic.