“It looks like you are wondering how I knew. I am sorry, but I cannot tell you. It’s a family secret.”
It seemed she read Nainiae’s mind again. With a smile, Reutrina brought her index finger to her lips. She leisurely walked to the front of Reutrina.
“What I said earlier, please think of it as a joke.”
Reutrina put up a fox-like expression on her face and said,
“I’m also interested in Young Master Riley.”
In less respectful tone, Nainiae called her and stared at her. Reutrina mumbled as if it was an excuse.
“As a woman, I threw a hissy fit because I was interested in Young Master… Please think of it like that.”
To not show the look on her face, Reutrina walked past Nainiae. She dusted off the snow that accumulated on Nainiae’s shoulder and walked toward inside of the mansion.
Reutrina breathed out frosted mist as she walked back. Nainiae just stood there and watched Reutrina. Heliona, who was hiding behind Nainiae, showed her self and yelled,
<Uuuuuaaaa! That wretched bitch!>
It was ringing in Nainiae’s ear. Nainiae looked like she was hurting from hearing the shouting right at her ear. Nainiae started to pad Heliona’s wings to calm her down.
“You held back well.”
<Why did you just stand there? If you just burned her face with flame, she would have said, ‘Oh my, your appearance is quite fair! I am sorry I got on your nerve!’ and rolled her tail up! Why?! Why?!>
“I am not supposed to do that.”
With her arms crossed, Heliona was breathing hard. She changed her target of anger and started to glare at Nainiae.
<Nainiae. You are lacking in self-awareness of who you really are!>
<That’s right! You are lacking in awareness of the fact that you are my master’s pupil! You are the pupil of Andal the red dragon. If you are one, then instead of ‘Ah, yes! Of course! Of course!’ you should have said ‘What? You got something to say? You got a problem? Wanna go at it?’ That’s the kind of response you should have shown!>
“Ah, ah haha…”
Heliona was lecturing Nainiae as she ground her teeth. Feeling awkward, Nainiae avoided the gaze and fiddled with her finger.
“By the way, the conversation earlier, didn’t it seem like there was more to it than the surface?”
<What about it?>
Although Nainiae brushed Heliona’s wings, Heliona was still perked up in anger. Heliona tilted her head.
“Usually, when people tells a joke, they just say ‘it was a joke.’ On the other hand, the Princess said to think of it as a joke.”
Nainiae thought that this could be interpreted as not a joke but take it as one. She asked for Heliona’s opinion.
“Am I reading too much into it?”
<No, it really could be…>
Heliona, who hated Reutrina, placed her fist at her chin and started to think hard about this.
<There’s no harm in being suspicious. I’m telling you this because I lived several hundred years longer than you. We occasionally saw that humans were far more conniving than we expected.>
It seemed Heliona came to a conclusion in the end. She lifted her head from the fist. She turned to look at Nainiae and asked,
<I don’t think we should let it be like this.>
<Let’s crush that high and mighty pride of that wretched bitch!>
* * *
“Between w… white snow… and then what did you say?”
<The place where the black wings fly between white snow. The place where bright song surge without sound.>
Sera carefully thought about what Heliona said. Not able to figure out what it was about, Sera scratched the back.
“Summon spirit’s language is difficult.”
In response to Sera’s reaction, Nainiae also looked at Heliona on her shoulder with confused look.
“What’s the black wings flying between white snow? I presume the white snow would mean winter. As for the black wings… a crow?”
“What’s the bright song without sound about? It’s strangely worded, don’t you think? A song needs to have sound.”
The two deduced through the words like detectives. Heliona looked at the two back and forth and described the place.
<About that place where the summon spirit is… I have never met the spirit myself either, so it would be hard for me to explain exactly about the place. One thing for certain is that… it is not far from here, although it is hard for me to pinpoint exactly where.>
Heliona was saying that the spirit that could make Nainiae reborn as an artificial summon spirit was nearby. Nainiae asked,
“Not too far from here?”
<Yes. Not too far from here. Why?>
It seemed Nainiae thought of something. Nainiae rolled her brain diligently. She then turned her head and looked at Riley who was sleeping.
“Ms. Heliona, you said you have met that spirit before, right?”
[TL: Earlier, Heliona said she had never met the spirit in person before. This statement is contradictory, but the author never corrected it. Conversations from here on assumes Heliona had met this spirit before.]
<Yes? What about it?>
“Ms. Sera, while I am not here… can you please look after Young Master Riley?”
“Nainiae, by any chance, you…”
Sera was blurring the end of the sentence. Nainiae nodded and said,
“I think I should go meet that spirit myself.”
Nainiae asked Heliona what would be the problems that she would face when she meets the spirit.
“The problem is that, after I meet the spirit, if our Young Master is in this state, would it be hard to proceed?”
Nainiae looked determined. She was asking with serious look on her face. Heliona seemed satisfied to see the determination in Nainiae. Heliona crossed her arms and shook her head. She said,
<No. It’s all right. For acknowledging the artificial summon spirit, the master and the one who will become the artificial summon spirit simply touching hands will be enough. If we are dealing with beings who do not have hands, then we will need to use a different method, but you are a human and have hands attached too.>
Heliona answered what Nainiae was curious about. Now, Heliona asked what she was curious about.
<By the way, you said you will go meet the spirit yourself? Have you figured out where?>
Heliona was asking if Nainiae figured out where ‘the place where the black wings fly between white snow. The place where bright song surge without sound’ was.
Nainiae shook her head.
<Then what is it?>
“I’m going to use the eye.”
Nainiae lightly brushed away the long hair to her right. She showed her right eye and asked again.
“Ms. Heliona. You said you have met that spirit before, right?”
<Huh? Ah, yes…>
Heliona was facing Nainiae’s white eye. Heliona had vacant look on her face and nodded.
“Please think about the spirit. Please think about the spirit in as much detail as possible.”
Nainiae strained her right eye as she spoke. Heliona had awkward look on her face, and Nainiae started to glare at her with piercing gaze.
It seemed Heliona was feeling uncomfortable with facing Nainiae’s gaze. Heliona avoided her gaze and started to think about the summon spirit that she was supposed to introduce to Nainiae.
Strange atmosphere was flowing between Nainiae and Heliona. Sera looked back and forth between the two. It seemed Sera realized she should not step in. She took a step back and checked up on them.
‘This is the first time for me to use the eye on a summon spirit, and I had never tried to locate a summon spirit with this either, but…’
It seemed Nainiae was nervous. She firmly closed her lips and looked at Heliona. Gradually, the outlines of the scenery started to form in Nainiae’s head.
Rumors about her spread recently inside the mansion. The Nobilities were talking about her as if it was a snack for their drinks. Nainiae was doing this so they won’t be saying this like ‘it is too bad, but that Lazy-Sword will have to part ways with that maid.’
It was also because she won’t remain silent about the things Reutrina said and added that they were jokes. Nainiae gathered power in her eye as much as she could.
‘… I can see it!’
The outline of the scenery became clear. What appeared to be fireflies could be seen in her right eye.
It seemed the visual was too bright. Nainiae cringed, and Sera asked out of concern.
<Are you all right?>
Concerned, Sera and Heliona asked. As if there was nothing to worry, Nainiae put forth her right arm and said,
“It’s all right. Jut for a moment… I felt throbbing pain for a bit, that’s all.”
She felt pain inside her eye, so she cringed for a moment. However, Nainiae have not blinked once. It was still steadily gazing upon Heliona.
“I found it. Almost… Just a little further.”
Heliona looked at Nainiae’s eye. Nainiae’s right eye was shaking, unable to focus. Heliona raised her hand, trying to say that Nainiae was going to overexert herself at this rate.
<Nainiae, that’s enough… I think it is…>
To ask her to hold just a little longer, Nainiae raised her hand and cast barrier. She continued to gaze at Heliona.
‘I found it!’
She screamed in pain. Nainiae covered her right eye with both of her hands and lowered her upper body.
Nainiae was faltering. Sera came to support her and asked as she wiped off the sweats on Nainiae’s face.
“Are you all right?”
“I have told you so many times, haven’t I? I told you not to overdo things! Young Master would not be pleased with this either!”
“I am sorry. I was being stubborn just now… I admit that. However, I found it.”
Sill covering her right eye with her hands, Nainiae raised her upper body back up. With her left eye, Nainiae looked at Heliona and said,
“The place where the black wings fly between white snow. The place where bright song surge without sound.”
She looked exhausted, but the look on her face seemed Nainiae was overjoyed when she mumbled the riddle. Still supported by Sera, Nainiae slowly turned her head.
“That place is…”
As she said, the place that Nainiae turned to after looking at Heliona was really not far.
Out of the blue, Nainiae was looking at Riley. Sera and Heliona both had confused look on their faces as they tilted their heads.
* * *
Although it was for a brief moment, Reutrina got to go on a night walk with Nainiae. Reutrina narrowed her eyes as soon as she returned to her room.
“She is at Seven Circles? How fierce.”
Having realized that the maid from the Iphalleta Family was at Seven Circles, not Six, she was thinking she should alter her plans.
“If she is at the same level as Astroa, I think it will be tough. I heard she was at Six Circles during spring… It’s only been half a year, so how could she grow so fast?”
She untied the string that was tying her hair. Reutrina shook her head and flaunted her hair waiving in the air as she walked toward the terrace.
“Should I have stayed there and try to read her thoughts some more?”
The terrace was filled with snow piled up.
Just like what she did when she was out for a walk, she gathered and lumped up the snow. With cold look on her face, Reutrina muttered,
“Nothing good will come from doing too much.”
It was hard to believe that Reutrina right now was the same person that spoke with Nainiae earlier. Reutrina was exuding unbelievably deadly aura.
Soon, Reutrina found something that flew through the snowing night sky. She extended her right arm out.
“A carrier pigeon?”
It was a black winged eagle. It had a long, folded letter that was attached on its leg.
With its talons wide open, the eagle landed on Reutrina’s arm. As if it was trying to tell Reutrina to check the message quickly, it screamed once.
“All right, is it sent by our mad dog?”
It seemed Reutrina figured out who sent the letter. She had a shady smile on her face as she opened the letter.
“… It is.”
She slowly read the content of the letter. She then clicked her tongue and let out frustration.
“I thought this will happen, but still, looks like they didn’t catch him. How foolish.”
She started to flinch her shoulder.
To summarize the content of the letter, which had two main points, ‘we lost the bastard we had been chasing, and two of our comrades were done in.’
The good news she was expecting were nowhere to be seen. Instead, the letter only had bad news. Reutrina started to crumple the letter mercilessly.
Reutrina was looking down at the letter and shaking her shoulders. The following words were reflecting on her eyes.
[From the Right Leg, to the Head]
Wondering if she read the letter wrong, Reutrina slowly looked over the letter once more. It seemed she was agitated.
She blushed and started to moan in excitement.
“Ah… Ah ah… As I thought! I didn’t see it wrong!”
Between her lips which was moaning just now, her tongue slowly came out and started to lick around the lips.
“… I want…”
Glamorously, as if she was seducing someone, as if she was trying to hold down something boiling inside her, she bit her finger. She licked the finger and muttered,
“… I want to have…”
Like a fox full of lust during the mating season, she was blushing red and mumbling as she licked her finger. Her eyes were… burning with purple light.
“Even more, I must have…”