<There are about fifteen guards to the front. I don’t know much about swords, so I cannot tell you how strong they are, but… It won’t be a problem for you. Just do as you usually do.>
Heliona mumbled in a serious tone. However, her voice contained confidence in Sera. Heliona was certain that Sera will be victorious.
‘Do as I usually do…’
Having heard Heliona’s confident words, Sera looked at her swords and the edges burning with flame in full force. Nervous, Sera bit her lips.
<Don’t worry. Don’t be nervous either. I, the daughter of the Summon Spirit King, will provide you with definite support, so… Just think of it as an honor and enjoy.>
Heliona added that Sera should enjoy this coming battle. It seemed hearing that was like igniting the fuse. Sera tightly held the swords and started to march forward.
Step, another step…
Initially, she moved as if she was just walking. Her legs started to move faster. Soon, she was charging in full speed.
‘I feel like my side is going to break down, but…’
Sera’s swords clashed sharply with the guards’ weapons, and the collision spread the flame from her swords.
‘… I don’t have the time to… hesitate.’
Melting the wind blowing around her, Sera charged toward the entrance of the mansion. She fixed her grips on her swords. With force, she swung the swords toward the spears that the guards were aiming at her.
When the weapons collided, half a tempo later, Heliona’s flame on the swords shook and engulfed the guards.
The guards all had somewhat dense look on their eyes. After being engulfed by Heliona’s flame, one after the other, they started to regain their senses.
“F… Fire! Fire!”
After coming to their senses, the guards rolled on the ground in hurry to put out the fires on their bodies. Sera observed other guards who were charging at her.
‘What is this? Their eyes… something is off.’
Somehow, their eyes looked as if they were all hypnotized. While swinging her swords and looking at the guards’ eyes, she thought about how she could not dodge Reutrina’s strike earlier.
‘As if they were mesmerized by something, they are… being controlled?’
They had emotionless expressions. They were not making any sounds through their mouths. They just kept quiet and swung their spears. Having noticed this, Sera gritted her teeth and swung her swords in wide sweep to deflect the tip of the spears that were coming at her.
In middle of the large swing motion, Sera felt the pain on her broken ribs. Sera crumpled her face.
<Don’t act like it hurts. Nainiae would have withstood it.>
Sera cringed after hearing what Heliona said. She endured the pain and continued her next movement.
‘That’s right. I can… endure this.’
She turned her body in circle and fixed the grips on her two swords. She swept away the weapons that were coming at her once again and started to dance.
She spun her fingers and changed the stance on one of the swords.
She moved her legs to get to different spots.
After her swords were swung, half a tempo later, the flames followed and waved as if they were cheering Sera.
It was like a fire dance.
Because of the pain, she roared as if she was screaming in pain. She pushed away four guards at once and finished her move.
Following the swords’ trajectories, the flames came later and got on four guards who were charging toward Sera. The flames made the guards to come back to their senses.
Sera swung the sword and dusted off her wrist. There were guards, who finally got a grip, staring at her. Not giving a damn about their stares, Sera looked around to check the situation.
“You are… a maid from the Iphalleta Family?”
One of the guards remembered that this was Sera, the one he met last time at the gate who pleaded with him to let them in. The guard, wondering what was happening at the moment, vacantly blinked his eyes.
<Given the situation, you should ask him for help.>
<Looking at these humans’ eyes, I am certain that they were being controlled by something until a moment ago. It must be like hypnosis magic.>
Sera must have been thinking the same. Sera nodded and said to the guards who had confused looks.
“Can you get up?”
Sera had one of her swords pierce the ground and then extended her hand toward one of the guards. Meanwhile, she swung the other hand with the sword to her back.
Following the sword’s trajectory, the empty air got caught in fire and repelled the vacant-eyed guards from charging in.
“Those guys, why are they?”
The guards were ordered by Reutrina to treat the Riley’s group well. The guard was confused from seeing his fellow guards’ behavior.
“I am sorry. There is not much time.”
She helped the guard to stand, drew the sword she had stuck on the ground earlier, and asked for help.
“Can you please help me? Please stop those people for me.”
The guard was trying to remember what he was doing until earlier. He tried, but he couldn’t remember. He asked Sera,
“Just what is happening? Can you please explain?”
“I don’t know either. I am about to go and find out. I need to protect my Young Master.”
The guard looked at Sera and gulped.
Her clothes were crumpled as if she was struck by something blunt on her stomach. Things on her hair and shoulders were not snow. They were broken glass pieces. These were the reasons why.
Despite the broken ribs, she endured the pain and lowered her head. It seemed her sincerity worked. After a brief moment to think, the guard tightly grabbed his spear and said,
“… I understand.”
“Just one thing. Please explain to us what happe…”
The guard was gazing on his fellow guards’ eyes as he continued words. It was at that moment.
A creepy scream, almost like a beastly roar, could be heard from inside the mansion.
Having heard the scream, not just guards and Sera, but even Heliona, who was being next to Sera and protecting her, flinched. It was that sickening to hear.
“This scream is?”
The scream sounded like someone was cringing in pain. Sera, who was standing there with blank look, soon guessed who it must be and mumbled in low voice,
“… Princess Reutrina?”
It was Princess Reutrina’s scream.
“I’m sorry. I’ll leave the rest to you!”
Sera could not bear to stand there anymore. She dashed past the guard and ran into the mansion. The guard, who put his hand forward in her direction, realized his fellow guards approaching from behind. The guard ground his teeth.
“Kuuk? Hey! What’s wrong with you!”
The guard shouted in panic. However, as if the other guards were deaf, they tumbled around with dull eyes, only interested in catching Sera who just ran into the mansion.
* * *
Awakened from her sleep, Nainiae was alone in the room. She barely managed to come to her senses and run out of the room.
‘… There’s nobody around?’
Although she was outside of the room, she didn’t see any of the servants who were there to keep them under surveillance. Nainiae narrowed her eyes and looked around.
She checked to the ends of the corridor to the left and right. She realized there was nobody around. Nainiae thought about the broken window earlier.
‘Something is happening.’
Instead of wondering about how her face and fingers changed… she was more anxious about Riley, Sera and Heliona. Nainiae tried putting her hand on her chest near the heart.
‘Mana is… still running normally.’
Unlike inside the dream earlier, her mana was running normally in full force. Having confirmed this, as a test, she tried spinning a ring inside her heart.
‘There isn’t any resistance. Well then, really.’
Having confirmed her body’s condition, she raised her right hand and quickly brought it down.
A high-level wind magic was activated. Along with the sound of whirlwind, Nainiae’s skirt waved in the air. In circular pattern, the wind spread through the corridor and caused a small crack on the wall.
“I am… fully healed?”
If what the woman in the dream said was true, Nainiae was now something a little different from an artificial summon spirit. However… the important thing was that the illness was completely cured now.
“All right, then.”
Until now, Nainiae had been holding back on her magic. It was like enduring thirst by a few drops of water. Now, she decided to use magic to her heart’s content. She started to spin three of the rings in her heart.
Nainiae used three magic spells at once, and the corridor, which had nobody around, started to distort.
Watching the distorted space, Nainiae was able to hear the sounds echoing through the mansion clearly. She realized who it was that just screamed and mumbled her name.
Because Nainiae only just woke up, she had no way of knowing what happened prior to this. With a question mark on her face, Nainiae walked toward the distorted space.
“… Kuuuuk! Hey! Get a grip!”
Nainiae walked into the distorted space and moved to the mansion’s entrance instantly. She looked at the guards who were fighting each other and then looked for Sera.
‘Ms. Sera is… not here?’
Along with the blink magic, she also cast summon spirit tracking magic to find traces of Heliona. Having noticed that Sera was not around, she again distorted the space behind her and prepared blink magic.
After Sera left, the guard, who was struggling against vacant-eyed fellow guards, felt a presence behind him. He turned to look and flinched.
As if a glass developed a crack, the space behind him was starting to shatter along with cracking sounds.
That was not all. There was a beautiful girl who he had never seen before, someone who he would have believed if she claimed to have come from a fairy tale book, was breathing out frozen mist and looking around the area.
“W… Who are you?!”
Nainiae was widening the space behind like shattering a glass window and was about to move to a different place. She turned to look at the guard and tilted her head to the side.
“What do you mean who?”
It was because she had met the guard before.
It was the guard who she threatened to let them inside the mansion. He was the one who they didn’t make a good first impression.
Nainiae was about to explain who she was. However, she noticed a spear coming at the guard from his back. She waved her right hand in the air and drew something.
“… Look behind you, behind.”
It seemed Nainiae’s magic was faster than the spear.
The spear that was swung by a vacant-eyed guard turned soft like a rubber. It was rubbing the guard’s back. The guard, who was mesmerized by Nainiae’s beauty and just staring at her, finally got a grip and pushed his fellow guard away.
Afterwards, the guard turned his head and tried to chase the girls face with his eyes. However,
Nainiae was already long gone to a different place by piercing through the space.
“Hu…. uuuhup! Uuuuuu…..”
After opening the space, Nainiae instantly teleported from the garden to somewhere inside the mansion. She finally had visual confirmation of the two that she had been looking for.
‘Ms. Sera and… Ms. Heliona…’
It was pretty dark, but there was an orange colored light steadily glowing there.
It was not hard to check the area, so Nainiae found them quickly. However, she was hesitant to call them. Instead, Nainiae just bit her lips.
It was because she was worried.
She was concerned they may not recognize her just like how the guard did not.
It seemed Heliona felt the gaze. Heliona, who was sitting on Sera’s shoulder, turned her head and vacantly opened her mouth.
Sera watched the flames on her swords disappearing. She also opened her mouth and turned her head.
Sera was not able to recognize Nainiae. She was about to carefully call out the name. At that moment, the scream could be heard again. It was making everyone there go deaf.
It was Reutrina’s scream.
Having heard the horrible scream, a boy crumpled his face and blocked his ears. He rubbed away eye boogers and complained,
“What’s happening… What was that for? Also, where is this place? Moreover, what time is it?”
It was Riley.
“Ugh. That’s hurting my ears.”
Reutrina was pulling her hairs out and suffering as if she ate something wrong. From a while ago, she was muttering strange things and screaming as if she was having seizures.
“That cannot be! That cannot be!”
Reutrina wasn’t just pulling her hair out. Tears, drools… Her face was a mess. She was struggling with the memories that she saw from Riley.