In that split second, Kabal, who was only looking at the barrier being split in half in front of him, lowered his gaze.
‘What is this?’
He eventually realized that the muscular arm lying on the ground was his. With look of disbelief, he turned his gaze to the front.
‘Why is my arm…?’
A gentle breeze tickled his face. He finally realized the situation he was in. He held his shoulder, where his arm had been – which was cleanly cut off – and started to take a step back.
As he stepped back, Kabal was staring beyond the barrier that was just split in half. There, he found Riley who was holding a sword. Kabal had no idea when had Riley gotten up and drawn his sword. Kabal gritted his teeth.
“As I thought, you were…”
Riley was holding the sword in his right hand. With the arm fully extended to the back, he had taken a standby stance. Facing Riley, Kabal exuded the purple light energy and started to swing the hammer in his left hand.
“You were the bastard!”
As if something snapped and he lost his mind, Kabal was charged at Riley like a beast. Nainiae, who was vacantly staring at Riley, showed a concerned look on her face for a brief moment. However, it was a baseless concern.
Only a moment ago, Riley was being held in Nainiae’s arms. Now, Riley was already standing and parring the hammer that Kabal slammed down. Nainiae watched this happen in front of her.
“Kuk! Petty tricks!”
Watching Riley quickly closing the distance and deflecting his own hammer, Kabal huffed and puffed as he changed the angle of the hammer and swung it with his left arm, as if he was going to send Riley flying.
Watching Riley parry the strike again by pushing the pole portion of the hammer with his sword, Nainiae mumbled inside.
Although Kabal was missing an arm, the monstrous strength drenched in purple light was definitely not something that could be ignored. Despite this, Riley only maintained emotionless face as he moved his sword and deflected Kabal’s attacks.
It was as if he was testing something.
He parried attacks from above by having them sent below and he dodged the attacks coming from the side. Riley was dancing with Kabal, as if Riley was toying with him.
It looked like Kabal almost had him, but he didn’t. Somehow, in various ways, Riley was evading Kabal’s attacks. Infuriated by Riley’s belittling moves, Kabal looked at the ground. It seemed his target had changed.
Nainiae realized Kabal was about to smash the ground with his hammer to bring about a quake. She hesitated as she thought whether or not she should prepare her magic. However, Riley responded faster than the smashing of hammer on the ground.
“… Uuuu, uu?”
Raised high above, the hammer was just waiting for the smashing motion to the ground. However, the hammer was stopped in that angle.
To be precise, Kabal’s body had become stiff.
Because of the deadly aura that Riley exuded, his entire body was not budging at all as if it became a lump of ice or a boulder.
‘It cannot be… Again?’
With his body immobilized, Kabal was not able to do anything but move his eyeballs to chase the culprit responsible for his current state.
‘Something petty like this…’
Like the last time, he was trying to use his strength to shake off the deadly aura that was suppressing his body. It seemed this was the right answer. His body, which was struggling, slowly started to move again.
Kabal shivered and started to move again. Watching Kabal, Riley snorted.
“That’s right. It’s done.”
‘Done? What’s done?’
Kabal’s consciousness ended there.
Next to Kabal’s right arm that had been cut off earlier, Kabal’s head, which still had confused expression on the face, fell. After that, his body, and then his hammer, fell in that order.
“As I thought…”
Riley tossed the sword on top of the corpse and muttered. The voice was unlike before. It felt like his heart had become significantly lighter.
“… It’s such a bother.”
Afterwards, he turned to look at Nainiae. Seeing the look on Riley’s face, it seemed she felt relieved at last. She relaxed the anxious look on her face and put on a faint smile.
Having finished off Kabal, Riley walked to Nainiae, stared right at her face and said,
“I think I need to hear a few things from you.”
It seemed like Riley was not going to ask about the advice Nainiae gave earlier about the things that troubled Riley. As if he had things he wanted to hear from Nainiae that were unrelated to those, the expression on Riley’s face changed to refreshed look. He moved his hand toward Nainiae’s white cheek.
Feeling Riley’s hand gently holding her own cheek and creating a sweet mood, Nainiae blushed out of embarrassment. However, the moment didn’t last long.
Her blushing cheek was stretched out like marshmallow.
“Y… Young Master.”
Feeling the skin on her cheek being pulled, Nainiae cringed her eyes. She started to struggle. It looked like she was begging him to stop.
“What happened? How come you know about it?”
Riley had asked how Nainiae knew about his past life.
“T… That is… That is!”
It seemed she was asking Riley to let go of the cheek first. Nainiae was struggling with tears in her eyes. Riley brought his face close to Nainiae and smiled violently. He was implying it would be good for her give straight answers.
* * *
To prevent what happened at Solia, the last time from repeating, Nainiae put away Kabal’s dead body in the dimensional space. She organized the crater in the area as she told Riley about the things that had happened so far.
“… You received them in the dream?”
“Yes. A woman in black… She said she was the Goddess of the world that you used to live in your past life. I met her in the dream. I received the memories of your past life from her as well.”
Having heard the explanation about what happened in the dream, Riley crumpled his face. Noticing this, Nainiae carefully asked,
“By any chance… have you met her before?”
She asked because she was worried about Riley. However, because the Goddess’ face was very similar to her own, Nainiae was concerned that Riley might hate her because of it. That’s why she asked.
“No. I resented her, but I had never met her.”
“Is that so?”
“I wish I could see her face just to see what she looks like. What an ungrateful bitch…isn’t she? If she took advantage of me that much, it should have been enough. Yet, she is trying to put me to work again?”
It seemed that he didn’t like this. Riley ground his teeth and poured out curses at the Goddess in black dress, the one who they had no way of knowing what could have happened to her now. While at it, he listened to the rest of the explanation from Nainiae.
He listened to everything as Nainiae explained that the power used in Riley’s past life is creeping into this world and how the Goddess said it would be best to handle the situation quickly. Nainiae also mentioned what the Goddess said about the Holy Sword.
“As I thought, there is something to the ‘World Below’ that Ian was worried about, but it was that. I see.”
Rile had a rough idea based on the purple colored people and what Ian had told him. With an annoyed look on his face, Riley started to scratch his head.
“What about Rorona’s side?”
Riley was scratching his head to organize his thoughts. He asked about Rorona, the mercenary who they had seen, before coming here.
“Fortunately, Mr. Reitri followed us, so I left her in his care and came to find you. On the way, I ran into Kabal mercenaries who were carrying Ms. Priesia and Nara on their backs, so I also left the two of them in Mr. Reitri’s care.”
Nainiae explained these were the reasons why she ended up joining Riley later than she expected. She rubbed her cheek, which had turned red and asked,
“Is there anything else that you want to know about?”
Now that he was finished with Kabal, he was going to go back and check on Nara’s and Priesia’s situation. Riley turned to look at Nainiae.
“Ah, I have one more thing.”
He said he almost forgot to ask this one thing. Riley came closer to Nainiae and asked,
“About me taking a nap inside the cave last time…”
Riley had an angry look in his eyes. Facing Riley’s glare, Nainiae flinched her shoulders and slowly avoided the gaze.
“About that, I recommend that you tell me honestly about what happened?”
Riley said it with a refreshing smile. Following his lead, Nainiae also smiled awkwardly. She then carefully opened her mouth.
“That is… I was worried about you, Young Master. So, I had no choice but to use a sleep spell…”
Nainiae muttered in mosquito size voice. However, Riley definitely heard what she said. He ground his teeth big time and brought his hand toward Nainiae.
“Ah, ah ah… Young Master, I’m sorry…”
Riley pulled Nainiae’s cheek. Suppressing the frustration that he was feeling, Riley asked,
“I see. So, was that another choice that you made because ‘you wanted to’?”
“Young Master, about that…”
“I also feel like I want to pull someone’s cheek.”
For a long time, Riley grabbed Nainiae’s cheek and stretched it out as he ground his teeth. It looked like he had enough. He let go of Nainiae’s cheek and forgave her.
“Uuu. So… What are you going to do now?”
At first, it was her right cheek. And now, it was her left cheek. Nainiae rubbed her cheeks with her hands and looked at Riley’s back.
“Do you even need to ask? First, let’s go get free lunch from Reitri, and then…”
“No, I’m not asking about that.”
“Um? Ah… ah!”
It seemed Riley understood the question. Like Nainiae, Riley was rubbing his face which had bruises. He corrected himself and replied,
“It’s such a bother. I won’t.”
He had organized his mind which was in chaos. Unlike before, he now answered without hesitation. Watching Riley like this made Nainiae think about what had happened last spring at the Solia Castle. Nainiae snickered and smiled.
‘I’m telling you to leave me alone. Let me rest a bit.’
All this time, although he was agonizing over the things that happened in his past life, perhaps Riley’s answer had already been set since then.
“… Ugh. I wish I could eat a sweet bean soup.”
It was a dish that didn’t exist in this world. Riley muttered the name of a food that existed in the other world as he walked and worked up an appetite. Nainiae followed him and asked,
“Sweet bean soup? Ah, are you talking about that sweet soup?”
“Can you make it?”
“For the ingredients… sweet beans will be needed. I think I’ll be able to make it somehow.”
Perhaps because she had the memories of Riley’s past life, Nainiae said she thought that she could make food from the other world.
“In that case, try it.”
“Should I also try making that thing we ate during the summer too?”
“What was it called? Ah! Flat fried dough!”
“No, we should eat that only when it is raining.”
* * *
At the Iphalleta mansion, shunned by Riley and Nainiae, a maid who ended up returning to her ordinary life stopped after sweeping the ground for a while. She sighed big.
It was not because the work was tiring. She was just worried about the Young Master and the new maid who were both younger than her.
Sera heaved a big sigh again. There was a woman who was looking at Sera cleaning. The woman said,
“Sera, you are going to make the ground sink.”
“Still, I think I didn’t resolve what you were concerned about. That’s why...”
“Sera, what I asked you was to watch over the two. I didn’t mean you should resolve the concern. If it is those two, they will be fine.”
“Even if you don’t take it upon yourself to resolve it, they will be fine. Instead of worrying, don’t you think they would want you to trust them? Riley and Nainiae…”
Iris added that worrying so much will instead lead to problems that really warrant concern. Having heard her, Sera put a stop to her worries and continued sweeping the floor.
“In that case, it cannot be helped.”
“Huhu. Right? Actually, I said the same to Mr. Ian recently. I was concerned you might react the same way as him.”
Iris brought it up as she smiled. Sera peeked a smile, indicating she could imagine. She stopped sweeping for a moment and asked,
“Now that I think about it, Mr. Ian… I haven’t seen him in days? Does he not know that I have returned?”
After she came back, even when she was all excited and told everyone that Nainiae’s face had become unbelievably beautiful, she didn’t see Ian. Thinking about him, Sera tilted her head to the side.
“Did he go somewhere?”
“Um? Did nobody tell you?”
Iris was reading a book. However, noticing Sera tilting her head to the side, Iris casually turned her head toward Sera and asked back.
“What do you mean?”
It seemed she had no idea.
“Oh my. It completely slipped my mind… I forgot to tell you.”
After seeing Sera’s reaction, Iris covered her mouth with her hand. She looked surprised. She rushed and brought her hand to the drawer and picked up a piece of paper that was there.
It was neatly folded. It appeared to be a letter. Iris handed the letter to Sera and Sera put the broom against the wall and carefully took the letter. She opened it.
[I am worried about Young Master. I feel so anxious and I cannot take it anymore. I’ll go to find Young Master. I don’t think I can rest easy with just Sera. I’ll come back with Young Master.
Sera’s hand, which was holding the letter, flinched.
“What is this…”
Sera’s face was covered by the letter. She peeked from above the letter; Iris had an awkward look on her face. She roughly explained the situation regarding how she had received the letter.
“About that… On the morning of the day you returned to the mansion… Ian vanished. He left that letter.”
Sera’s mouth was opened vacantly.