Now, Nainiae’s illness was completely cured. Riley woke up from his sleep as well. Sera finished organizing the luggage. She fixed her grip on the bag on her shoulder and asked the two,
“Well then, shall we get going?”
With her illness cured, Nainiae no longer had limitations on the teleportation magic. It would not have been odd if they immediately returned to the mansion.
“Thinking about how Mr. Ian would panic after seeing your face makes me laugh! Ah, I want to show him soon!”
It seemed Sera could not be more proud of Nainiae’s changed face, or her face without scars to be precise. She snickered and added they should go back soon. Nainiae, who was keeping silence, carefully said,
“… Excuse me.”
Sera already had the bag on her back. She was singing while moving her shoulder up in excitement. Having heard Nainiae, she tilted her head to the side.
“I am sorry, but can you to return to the mansion first? I still…”
With her hands to her back, Nainiae was fiddling with her hands and blurring the end of the sentence. She carefully said,
“I still have something left to do.”
“Something you need to do?”
‘She was cured of the illness, and she even had the scars gone from her face. What was left to do? Why is she asking us to go back by ourselves first?’
Wondering why, Sera asked,
“Even if you stayed here, you will just get a load of glances.”
“No, I am not saying I’ll stay here.”
Nainiae thought about what the woman in black said in Riley’s dream. She wondered how she could explain all that to her. Soon, she thought of a good way to avoid it all and started to explain what it was that she still had to do.
“My teacher… No, the doctor who helped me heal before… I was thinking about visiting him to say hello. Although he didn’t heal me completely that time, I am still indebted to him, so… I think it is only right to visit him.”
Nainiae realized she made a mistake when she said ‘teacher.’ Nainiae quickly corrected herself and smiled. Sera tilted her head again and put up a puzzled look on her face.
“By any chance, that red haired man who visited the mansion last time?”
It seemed Sera remembered Andal from the visit last time. Sera pounded on her palm with her fist and asked. Nainiae quickly nodded and said,
It seemed Sera was convinced by Nainiae’s explanation. She turned to look at Riley. She figured this could not be helped. She said,
“In that case, just us…”
“I’m going too.”
Sera was going to say just her and Riley should go back, but she didn’t get to finish the sentence. Riley said he will go with Nainiae as well. Surprised, Sera asked,
“Young Master, you too?”
Sera was not the only one who was surprised. Nainiae also panicked and broke cold sweat.
“There is no need to be so surprised, is there?”
Riley looked at both maids who were surprised by his choice. Riley shrugged and said,
“Now that I think about it, I have forgotten to say hello to him. He is the doctor who helped healing my maid. I think it would be good to go express my gratitude at least.”
Riley emphasized on the word ‘doctor.’ Having heard him, Nainiae hesitated for a moment. She slightly lowered her head and said,
“Yes, I understand.”
“I can understand Nainiae, but… Young Master, are you really going to go?”
“What else? Could I go but not for real then?”
Nainiae raised her head and looked at Riley again. She was thinking about what the woman in black said.
She told Sera and Riley that she is going to go meet the doctor, Andal to be exact. However, Nainiae’s real goal was… finding Riley’s Holy Sword that the woman in black asked to find before the winter ended.
“Sera, you go back to the mansion first. Please say hello to my mother and Ian.”
Riley smiled mischievously. Riley smiled and waved good bye toward Sera, wishing her safe trip back. Sera extended her hand out as if she needed a moment. She said,
“Wait. That means… this winter trip is not over?”
“Well, that’s right.”
After saying that, Riley, who was standing next to Nainiae, bumped at her arm with his elbow. It seemed Nainiae realized this and made a dimensional portal behind Sera.
“Ang? Uuuang? No! Wait! Then you shouldn’t be sending back just me? If anybody is going to go back, won’t it be better for all to go back together!”
Sera panicked and waved her arms around after noticing the dimensional portal behind her. Not able to stand still, Riley extended his arm out toward Sera to push her in into the portal.
“Young Master! Wait! Lady Iris was worried, you know? Having just Nainiae alone won’t be enough!”
“She does not have any restrictions on using magic now, so well… I think having just Nainiae will be enough as a guard. Don’t worry. Have a safe trip back.”
“This is not about being a guard! As an adult, the problem with puberty…”
Sera was not able to finish her sentence. She was pushed by Riley and got sucked into the portal that Nainiae made.
Just like how it was when they first started the winter trip, she probably appeared all of sudden in the mansion’s garden.
“Puberty? What puberty? She is talking about some strange stuff.”
Riley looked at the dimensional portal and clicked his tongue. Riley turned to look at Nainiae and said,
“I thought about this, and…”
“I’m certain I didn’t start this winter trip just to heal your illness.”
Riley rubbed his chin and muttered. With puzzled look on her face, Nainiae looked at him and waited for what he was going to say next.
“Besides that, I am sure there was something else as the reason why I started the winter trip? Nowadays, my memories are fuzzy. Could it be that I have dementia in my age?”
Having heard his question, Nainiae vacantly opened her mouth. She knew why his memories were coming and going as if he was suffering from forgetfulness.
Even before Riley fell asleep, he appeared to be like a patient with forgetfulness symptoms. This was because of the memories from his past life.
It was because he could not contain all of the memories from his past and this life.
‘Will he be all right?’
It was not certain if Riley was aware that Nainiae was worried about him. Riley mumbled in low voice,
“Ah, right… the purple people.”
Having heard his words, Nainiae barely managed to get a grip from her distracting thoughts. She looked at him again.
“I just remembered. I’m talking about the reason why I bothered to get up and go on this trip in this cold winter.”
Looking at Nainiae, who had surprised look in her eyes, Riley shrugged and explained why he was being active in this winter instead of hibernating.
“It’s because of that bastard.”
Nainiae was vacantly staring at Riley. She then firmly closed her lips that she had open lightly earlier.
“Kabal the mercenary… Was that the name? I’m talking about the bastard who took away my father’s arm during the collision at the border. I should have him pay dearly for laying his hand on my father.”
It was because of his eyes.
“Excuse me, Young Master.”
It seemed Nainiae was concerned about the look in his eyes. Nainiae carefully called Riley. However, Riley was not able to respond right away to her calling. He was in middle of thinking hard about the reason why he decided to go on this winter trip.
‘To be precise, it was because of the thing that Ian asked me to, but…’
The thing that Ian asked, the matter regarding the world below which may have something to do with his past life… This was what Riley was thinking hard about.
“Your right eye… You can still use it, right?”
After thinking hard, Riley decided that he could not tell Nainiae about it. She looked at Nainiae and asked.
“That bastard named Kabal… Try finding where he is now.”
Riley ordered Nainiae to find Kabal, the bastard who threw off Stein’s arm. Nainiae took a moment of pause as if she was hesitating. As if she could not help the situation, she looked at Riley.
Using her right eye, she tried to find the mercenary named Kabal. She suddenly covered her eye with her hand and crumpled her face.
She was suffering. Having noticed this, Riley approached her and ask, wondering what was happening.
“What is it?”
Having experienced gruesome experiments at the Magic Tower, Nainiae was the kind that didn’t even bat an eye from most pain. However, she was feeling incredible pain. It was making even her cringe.
“No, it is…”
She had no idea what was the cause of the pain. She uncovered her eye, but she froze like that vacantly.
She was shedding tears.
There was no change in facial expression. She was not sobbing either. She just had vacant look on her face as she shed tears.
Riley wondered why she was crying. He could not understand why. With puzzled look, he called Nainiae. Nainiae barely came to her senses. She flinched and said,
“You are crying again? What is it?”
It seemed Riley thought something was seriously not right. Riley asked in concerned tone. Nainiae tumbled and wiped the tears away. She put up an awkward smile.
“No. It is nothing.”
She could not tell him that she was crying because of sad memories from his past. Nainiae brushed it off casually. She moved her right hand and used magic.
“Well then, let’s go.”
* * *
Through her teleportation, Riley instantly moved to a new place. Smelling horrible stench in the air reaching his nose, Riley immediately crumpled his face.
“Ugh. What is it?”
There wasn’t just the smell. The sand was making his legs sink deep, so he crumpled his face for the second time. He asked Nainiae who came through the dimensional portal after him.
“Where is this place?”
“I am not sure?”
Although she used the teleportation to move to this place, she was unaware of where exactly this place was. She tilted her head to the side and started to look around.
The wind sounded like someone was sobbing. The light sand was blowing in the wind as it made noise, which was quite eye catching.
“From the looks of it…”
There was nothing here besides the sand blowing in the air. As she checked the place, she carefully guessed,
“I think we are at a desert?”
Having heard Nainiae, Riley kicked the sand under his feet. He saw the sand which turned pitch black and kneeled down.
“If it is desert, why is the sand…”
While cringing his face because of the stench, Riley extended his hand toward the sand, but he quickly dropped the sand that he picked up and dusted his hands after feeling the sensation on his hand from the sand.
“This is poison?”
Having heard Riley, Nainiae kneeled down and touched the sand just like Riley. She opened her eyes big.
“It… really is. These are not ordinary sands.”
It was not just where they were standing. The entire desert area within their view range was all drenched in pitch black color. Because of this, instead of feeling like being at a desert, they felt like they could mistake and think they were in a cave with open ceiling.
“That bastard is here?”
Riley got up and looked around the desert as he mumbled.
“Yes. When I saw him with my eye… until just a moment ago, he was here. Judging from the mana used in this teleportation, I think we are at the border of the Solia.”
Because she didn’t have a map, she could only deduce that they were somewhere in the desert. Having heard the response, Riley scratched his head and estimated where this place must be.
“Outer edge of the Solia… In that case, I think we must be at the Karuta desert.”
The problem was that this place was a desert.
Even with a map, it was not going to be easy to tell what’s where in middle of a desert. Finding Kabal in this place was going to be the same as trying to find a needle in a sand field.
‘The fact that this place is a desert is a problem, but… the sand here…’
Riley lowered his gaze and looked at the sand which was drenched in dark color. He remembered the trace of epidemic that he found at the Alieve Village last time and started to roll his brain.
‘What was it called?’
He was trying to remember the words that were written at the cave nearby the village. He was trying to move his memories which became very faint lately. He barely managed to remember the nickname and muttered.
“The friend who cannot breathe… I guess that one could be here too.”
“The friend who cannot breathe?”
“I’m talking about another bastard who is suspected to be one of the purple people. They might be together…”
Along with that purple human’s nickname, Riley thought about what the children at the village said.
‘By any chance, do you guys know who that is?’
‘Yes, we know him.’
‘It was a homeless man.’
‘Still, he was a very kind homeless man. He played well with us.’
‘He taught us numbers.’
‘He is a good person.’
Riley organized what the children at the Alieve Village told him. Eventually, he decided to set aside the thoughts about this friend who could not breathe and looked at Nainiae.
“Anyway, finding that Kabal bastard is our priority. There is the favor that Ian asked personally as well, so Nainiae…”
“Let’s use your eye one more time. Where is he?”
“Young Master, the thing is…”
Having heard Riley asking Nainiae to use the eye again, she paused for a moment. Nainiae found it hard, but strained herself to say it.