Riley and Nainiae returned to the Reitri Merchant Group’s carriage. They decided to have a funeral for Isen, the mercenary who had lost his life in the battle against Kabal.
“To think Mr. Isen would end up like this.”
“At least we have the Priestess with us to perform the funeral.”
“It’s so sad.”
The merchants also joined the funeral. They maintained a solemn atmosphere and were not able to suppress the sad looks on their faces, saying that it was a shame that Isen died.
“I know. Now, the desert cleansing work has been postponed too.”
“Damn it all. If those bastards from the Kabal Mercenaries didn’t show up…”
They noticed that Priesia was in the prayer position. The merchants firmly closed their mouths and lowered their heads to pay respect.
Priesia, the Priestess, closed her eyes gently and began to use her holy power.
With her hands gathered together, her holy prayer to send off the dead could be heard. Nara and Rorona, who were standing by Isen, bit their lips and lowered their heads.
“Will Nara… be all right?”
The prayer was over. Nainiae was watching the funeral from quite a distance. She carefully asked Riley who was sitting next to her.
“I am not sure?”
Riley was holding his head by the palm and thought about countless funerals he had attended in his past life.
“Anyway, since the Priestess personally performed the funeral ceremony… He won’t be going to Hell or something.”
Nara and Rorona lifted the torches. Their faces were stricken with grief. However, they didn’t cry and no tears were visible.
It seemed Nara and Rorona had hardened their hearts from living the life of a mercenary. They were enduring the death of their dear comrade. Riley was watching them with his head held by the palm.
“He is probably not all right, but he seems all right.”
Having heard what he said, Nainiae looked at Nara and Rorona. Nainiae felt like he could understand them somehow. She nodded with bitter look on her face.
“I guess so.”
To the logs that Isen was lying on top of, Nara and Rorona brought their torches and set the logs on fire. Rorona, who had been holding it in well until now, could not endure it anymore. She broke into tears.
“Don’t cry, Rorona.”
“Because of me…. Because of me…”
Nara watched Isen’s body being engulfed in the flame. Nara tossed the bandages into the fire that he had wrapped on his body earlier and said,
“Don’t blame yourself. Isen would not want that.”
“I know… I know…”
Rorona was holding the torch with both of her hands. She bit her lips and nodded over and over.
* * *
Under Priesia’s guidance, they held a brief funeral for Isen. When the funeral ended, Nara and Rorona walked to where Riley was and joined him.
“Are you all right?”
Because she cried, Rorona’s eyes were all swollen up. Nainiae consoled her and pointed at a seat to invite Rorona to sit down. Rorona sat down and smiled awkwardly.
“Young Master, you came.”
Nara sat down as well after Rorona. Looking at Riley, Nara finally got to greet him.
“I didn’t get to greet you sooner. My apologies.”
“Your body was crushed. Is it alright now?”
Given the situation, Riley acted like it was nothing. He looked over Nara’s wounds and asked.
“Yes, more or less… Thanks to the Priestess.”
Nara said he was able to recover quickly thanks to the Priestess although he was turned to pulp. The wounds still hurt and Nara cringed lightly in response.
“The Priestess and I opened our eyes in Mr. Reitri’s carriage. It is… thanks to you I presume, Young Master?”
While Priesia was in middle of the prayer, Nara lost her because of Kabal making the entrance to the scene. He looked ashamed. Riley said he is not the one who should be thanked in particular. He turned his head to the side instead.
Riley pointed at the maid with his eyes. Nara had his eyes met with astonishingly beautiful woman who was making his eyes pop and twist. He blushed and lowered his head.
“Ah… Th… Thank you.”
Nara didn’t recognize Nainiae. Wondering who she was, Nara directed his gaze at Rorona.
Here was a maid he had never seen before, yet it looked like Rorona knew who she was.
“Who is she? Do you know her?”
Nara quietly asked, and Rorona peeked a smile and said,
“Yes, I know her.”
“You do? You mean like you saw her or were introduced to her earlier today?”
“Commander, she is someone you know as well?”
Nara furrowed his brows, wondering what Rorona was babbling about. Nara looked at the maid next to Riley again carefully.
She was blindingly radiant. Simply looking at her face once again was difficult for Nara. Her facial features were that gorgeous.
“… Who is she?”
Nara’s face was still full of question marks. He looked at Rorona’s face; he was asking her to tell him.
“Seriously? You really cannot recognize her?”
Not just Rorona, but even Riley smirked and asked. It seemed Nainiae was a little disappointed. She blew up her cheek.
“The thing is, even if you ask, I cannot recognize her…”
“Commander, I thought you of all people would be able to recognize her.”
Rorona was looking at him with disappointed eyes. Nara panicked. As if he was trying to tell them to just sit back and watch this, he narrowed his eyes and stared at Nainiae who had her cheeks ballooned up.
For a moment, Nara’s eyes turned to those of snakes and then, became human-like again.
Nara observed the maid using the Basilisk’s eyes. He recognized her color and put on vacant look on his face.
Of all people he had met in his life, very few had colors as pure as this.
The maid of Iphalleta who he ran into during the last summer clearly had the same color as her.
“It cannot be…”
Her name is…
Instead of a face with horrid looking scars attached, she had ivory white skin and beautiful features. She was wearing the same maid dress and had the same dark hair as the maid named Nainiae he remembered.
“It’s been a while, Nara.”
Nainiae finally relaxed her face and smiled refreshingly as she waved her hand at Nara.
“N… Nainiae? Is it really you, Ms. Nainiae? The thing is, I was so sure that you must be a new maid in the Iphalleta Family, so…”
Nara muttered as he looked at Nainiae’s face. Meanwhile, Priestess Priesia, who was away from everyone, came to join them.
“Excuse me. Mr. Reitri would like to express his gratitude to Young Master Riley for coming all this way… Um?”
Priesia found Nara with a vacantly open mouth while staring at Nainiae. Wondering what that was about, she tilted her head to the side. Riley asked Priesia as well.
“You never met her before, right?”
Having heard the question, Priesia looked at Nainiae. Thinking hard about the question, Priesia crumpled her eyebrows and floated up a question mark on her face just like Nara earlier.
“Young Master… This… Could you please stop doing this?”
Nainiae dropped her head with a gloomy expression. Riley snickered and said he understood.
“Excuse me, by any chance?”
Based on their conversation just now, it seemed Priesia got a feel for the right answer. She had a quizzical look on her face as she carefully asked Nainiae,
Hearing Priesia calling her name, Nainiae nodded as replacement for a verbal response. She looked relieved.
“Is it really you, Nainiae? Oh my… What happened to your face? You were healed? You were, right?”
It seemed Priesia could not look happier to see that her friend came back with her face completely healed. Priesia actually came here to see Riley, but she directed her attention to Nainiae instead.
“It’s so fortunate. Your illness is cured too, right? Completely?”
Priesia suddenly grabbed Nainiae’s hand and Nainiae panicked. Meanwhile, Priesia was pouring out questions after questions. To calm her down, Nainiae said she will go prepare tea and got up.
“It really was you, Ms. Nainiae… You look like a completely different person.”
“I think she looks the same. What’s all this ruckus about.”
“The same? What are you…”
Riley was leisurely shrugging. Nara started at him because he couldn’t understand Riley. Nara tilted his head to the side.
“Young Master, you changed a little too?”
Riley wondered if the bruised-up face was not healed completely yet. He felt his cheek. Watching Riley, Nara shook his head to say that was not what he was talking about. Nara explained what it was that changed.
“It’s your color.”
“Yes. Compared to before, how should I say this… You have become cleaner? You had a bit of a tainted color before.”
“Tainted? Who’s tainted.”
“I’m just saying that’s how your color was like! I’m not saying you have a dirty personality…”
Nara shriveled his shoulders. Thinking he can’t come back from this one, Nara just shut his mouth. Riley was not liking this. He glared at Nara, but he soon changed the look on his face and said,
“Anyway, I have something I want to ask.”
“Yes? What is it?”
“Nara, it’s about the purple people you mentioned before. How many did you say there are?”
“The purple people? Let’s see… So…”
With his fingers, Nara counted the purple people he met so far.
“That Kabal bastard, the dark mage who we met at the Rainfield, The oldfart who claims to be the Archbishop of the Hotly Temple, a homeless we met at some nameless country village… and…”
Based on the six parts that the purple people talked about, Riley thought there must be six people.
Nara just mentioned Kabal the mercenary, Hurial the dark mage, Rebethra the Archbishop and Epidemic the friend who cannot breathe… and the Princess Reutrina who had been hiding her true identity. Together, there were five of the purple people that Riley knew.
It meant there was one more.
“I don’t know who this person was, but I saw someone who looked relatively suspicious recently. That person was also purple.”
Nara just said he saw the remaining one. Riley narrowed his eyes and asked about this suspicious person.
“Suspicious looking person?”
“Yes. Because of a very thick hood on the head, I couldn’t see the face in detail.”
“By any chance, was it a woman of nobility?”
Riley asked because he wondered if the one he saw was Reutrina. Nara shook his head and said,
“No, this person didn’t appear to be a nobility. There wasn’t any guard either.”
Nara tilted his head to the side because he couldn’t remember very well, and Rorona, who was sitting next to him, added,
“What really caught my eyes was that there was silver hair sticking out of the hood.”
“Yes, silver hair. It was long, loose silver hair. Because the face was covered by the shadows, I don’t have anything to tell you about the face.”
Having heard the explanation, Nara was more surprised than Riley. Impressed, Nara looked at Rorona.
“Rorona, how did you see that?”
“Commander, you cannot underestimate an archer’s eyesight. I may not look the part, but I am quite the expert”
“Ah, I’m sure you are.”
Rorona flexed her shoulders and tilted her chin up. Nara clicked his tongue to tell her that is enough. Nara turned to look back at Riley.
“By the way, Young Master. Why are you asking about the purple people all of the sudden?”
Riley organized his thought and answered in terse terms.
“I just thought it won’t be a bad idea to know about them.”
It was as he said.
They were related to the so called the world below. The purple people were trying to break the boundary between this world and the modernized world that Riley lived in his past life. Riley thought it would be such a bother to go and pay a visit to each and every one of the purple people and beat the shit out of them one at a time, so he was not thinking about such a plan, but…
He thought it won’t hurt to know about them beforehand, so that’s why he asked.
It was also to prevent bothersome things from happening in the future.
‘The dark mage and Kabal have been handled. As for Reutrina, she became a fool and we had surveillance attached to her, so… There are three whose whereabouts are unknown? ’
Rebethra, who had been taken by the black hand, the epidemic homeless man who Riley crossed paths with in Allieve Village and another suspicious individual who wears a full body hood and has silver hair… They seemed to be the remaining three of the purple people.
‘Of the remaining three, the one who is most likely to bother us soon is… actually all of them…’
Riley thought about the three remaining purple people. Finding it to be such a bother, he furrowed his brows. Meanwhile, Nara asked,
“Young Master, what do you plan to do from now on?”
Riley was holding his head with his palm. As if he already had thought about the answer for this question before-hand, he answered immediately.
“This winter trip’s theme is to rest and express gratitude, so we are going to go see the doctor who healed Nainiae.”
The said doctor who had been running a pub at Iffa village near Iphalleta Mansion was currently away somewhere else. To check out what he was up to and also say hello to the man, Riley chose to do this.
“… Excuse me, Young Master.”
Having heard him, Priesia glanced around as she fiddled with her fingers. She carefully raised her right hand up.
“I have a favor to ask. Can you please help me?”