“It asked to be killed?”
“It’s strange enough for a living, moving epidemic to be talking, yet… it asked to be killed. Honestly, I cannot believe this story, but…”
Afterwards, Reitri started eating the food. He chewed and swallowed a piece of bread and continued.
“I received information that the epidemic is headed to Ansyrium. Because of this, people of Ansyrium were given evacuation order.”
“It’s headed to Ansyrium?”
“Yes, it is just that… It seems Solia had not noticed this yet. If Solia knew about this, they would have taken advantage of the epidemic and sought vengeance for the border invasion last time.”
Riley thought about Epidemic, the one who was called the friend who cannot breathe by the children of the Allieve Village. This one was one of the purple people. With blank look on his face, Riley organized his thoughts.
“A living epidemic…”
Considering what happened before, it was certain that what Reitri just explained was not baseless rumor.
“The stories about living epidemic and people claiming to have met this epidemic are just rumors, but… The story about the epidemic heading to Ansyrium is a definite fact.”
It seemed Reitri was thinking Riley must be confused because of the blank look on Riley’s face. This was the reason why Reitri added more explanation.
“Please stay for the night in this carriage. Starting tomorrow, you will be traveling again… No. You said you will be going to see the doctor who healed Ms. Nainiae, right?”
“Well, that’s right.”
“In that case, I think it would be best if you avoid going in Ansyrium’s direction. If the rumor is real, if you run into the epidemic… it might be dangerous even for you or Ms. Nainiae.”
Hearing Reitri’s warning, Riley wondered if the epidemic was that dangerous. He nodded for now.
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
Riley was not sure if this epidemic, which turned the sand black, could really cause serious damage or not. However, he was certain that it would be such a bother if he ran into the epidemic.
“Anyway, I asked about the epidemic so I won’t run into it, so…”
Having heard the response, Reitri nodded. He saw the plate was almost empty. Reitri said,
“That’s all information I could give you about the epidemic. Is there anything else you want to ask?”
Riley shook his head and got up. He said,
“No. It’s all right. That was enough. I just need to avoid going toward Ansyrium, right?”
“Yes, Young Master.”
Sitting on the bed, she was tuning in to their conversation. She responded to Riley’s calling.
“Andal’s cave… No. About where the doctor is at, it is not toward Ansyrium, right?”
The pub was empty. Not only that, the secret passage way underneath the pub was sealed as well, so Riley decided to go to the cave directly. He asked Nainiae about the cave’s location.
“Yes, it is pretty far from Ansyrium.”
Because Riley said the word ‘cave,’ Nainiae flinched. She smiled awkwardly and responded, and Riley nodded. He thought that was fine.
“In that case, we have no problem here.”
Riley got up and walked toward the bed. Reitri also got up and asked,
“Excuse me, Young Master. Do you really have nothing else you want to ask? Compared to the information I received from you, what I told you in return is quite lacking. It doesn’t feel right.”
Reitri thought it was not an even trade. To preserve the moral of a merchant, Reitri asked. Riley plummeted and lay down next to Nainiae on the bed. He moved his eyes around, wondering if there was something else he could ask.
“I am not sure.”
He moved his eyes and looked at Nainiae. He was asking if she had something she wanted to ask. Nainiae tilted her head to the side.
She wondered if she should ask about the remaining purple human who was not yet identified or if she should ask about Riley’s Holy Sword. She eventually shook her head and said,
“No. I don’t have anything in particular.”
Reitri nodded as if he understood. He walked toward the outside of the carriage as he said,
“Well then, let’s talk later if there is anything else you want to talk about. Please think of it as me owing a debt to you.”
Reitri said he will tell Riley one more information anytime. Reitri got out of the carriage.
“I’ll get going now. Please enjoy restful sleep.”
“Uu, Uu! My back!”
Immediately after Reitri got out of the carriage, Riley stretch-yawned big time. He looked at Nainiae who was just sitting there with vacant face. Riley wondered what she was up to.
“What is it?”
“The thing is… I wonder if something happened. Ms. Heliona have not appeared for a long time.”
“Heliona… You mean that chatterbox?”
Riley looked at Nainiae’s shoulder and realized why Nainiae looked concerned through whole day. Riley put on an enigmatic look on his face.
“Since she is a summon spirit, isn’t she staying at the summon spirit world or whatnot and eating and sleeping there?”
“That’s true, but… Ms. Heliona is not the type who would not show up for a whole day like this.”
“Unless it was something very urgent, she would have at least told me something before disappearing… I am worried.”
What would be the urgent business that Heliona had to disappear for without even saying goodbye to Nainiae… Nainiae could not help but to be concerned. She had hardened look on her face. She shook her head and continued.
“Well, she is a tough person, so I’m sure she will be fine. Once I see the teacher, I’ll be able to learn about her situation as well.”
Nainiae extended her arm toward the brightly lit light on the ceiling and used a simple telekinesis.
The light made a small pop sound. It shook and was extinguished.
* * *
“Young Master, please get up. It’s morning.”
It was the next day morning.
It seemed the exhaustion from the day before was not completely gone. Riley was still sleeping in even though the sun had come up a while ago. Having heard Nainiae’s voice, he struggled to open his eyes and faced the morning.
“What time is it?”
“It’s a little after 11 am.”
Having heard the answer, he buried his head at the pillow again. He sighed lightly and muttered,
“In that case, it would be all right for me to sleep a little longer.”
Riley muttered he will sleep a while longer as he covered himself under the blanket. Nainiae was not sure about what to do. She started to glance at the outside.
It was because the Reitri Merchant Group and Nara’s Mercenary Group members all finished breakfast and getting the carriages ready for heading out. They were all waiting for Riley. This was why.
“Young Master, everyone is waiting.”
Nainiae knew this might be rude of her to do so, but she decided to uncover the blanket. She waved her hand in the air and used magic to start neatly folding the blanket.
Riley quickly put his hand out. He was trying to grab the blanket that was being taken away. He saw the fabric slowly escaping his grasp. Riley crumpled his face.
“Isn’t using magic cheating?”
It was one of the basic magic. It seemed Nainiae used the spell that temporarily disabled friction to make the opponent slip and fall. She used the magic spell on the blanket. Nainiae lowered her head and apologized.
“I am sorry, Young Master… However, I think it would be best for you to get ready to go out quickly.”
Nainiae neatly folded the blanket. Riley had frustrated look on his face. He looked like he was going to close his eyes again. Nainiae broke cold sweat.
Regardless of absence or presence of the blanket, as if he was trying to say that this was not going to stop him from the slumber… Riley raised mana and wrapped his body in it. He was trying to fall asleep again. Nainiae put his hand toward Riley.
“Young Master, please get up.”
Annoyed by Nainiae’s hand shaking his shoulder, Riley crumpled his face. Nainiae’s voice was growing gloomier by the second. Having realized this, Riley gently opened his eyes.
Her face looked as gloomy as her voice. She had her head down. Riley asked what this was about.
“Come on. I’m merely saying I would like to get some more sleep in the morning. Why does the mood feel like we are at a funeral?”
Having heard his question, Nainiae tried hard and hid her sad face and answered in whisper like voice,
“That is… I was concerned you may not be able to wake up like the last time.”
With her hands to the back, she looked like she didn’t know what to do. Riley looked at her with hollow look on his face. As if he was giving in, he acted out the frustration and got up.
“Are you trying to disturb my sleep?”
“No, that is… I don’t mean to…”
Nainiae shook her head. Riley placed his hand on top of Nainiae. He said it was fine and put on the shirt he had hanging on the hanger.
“Let’s go outside.”
Nainiae still had confused look on her face. Leaving her be, Riley came down from the carriage. He moved around his stiff neck to relax it and looked at the people who were waiting.
“Ah, he came out.”
“Young Master, shall we get going?”
To merchants, time was money. Reitri was waiting for Riley to empty the carriage. He rubbed his hands together and asked respectfully.
“That’s right. Go ahead. Go do it… By the way, where are you going?”
“We are going to help out with cleansing the Karuta desert which didn’t get completed. It’s just that the Priestess said she thinks she will need to move to a different location, so…”
“Hm, so, as I thought, that’s what happened?”
Nara, Rorona and Priesia, the three members of the mercenary group who were glancing around from the side lowered their heads after Reitri’s explanation to greet Riley for the morning.
“Yes. That’s what we decided.”
“What about you, Young Master? Are you going to get going right away?”
Nara looked at Nainiae who also came down from the carriage after Riley. Riley shrugged and said,
“I should get going right away.”
Riley turned to look at Nainiae who came to stand right behind him. Riley lightly nodded. As if she understood, Nainiae also nodded and prepared teleportation.
“You know where to go, right?”
Riley said that they had to go to the cave where Andal would be at, not the pub that he managed. He checked Nainiae who had her eyes gently closed to cast the magic. Riley turned his head.
“Well then, we will get going.”
“We will wait to hear from you. Please visit us anytime, Young Master.”
“All right. Next time, I don’t need the carriage. Just carry some delicious food. It was fine with me, but I thought the food was quite lacking to be served to nobilities you might meet on the road.”
Riley was saying that the food that was served to him, which Reitri provided, was totally not on par with his taste. Reitri flinched.
“See, uncle? What did I tell you?”
It seemed that this concern was already pointed out to Reitri before. Horai was also there with Reitri to see Riley off. Horai poked at Reitri with his elbow and lectured him.
“Excuse me, Young Master!”
Priesia stepped forward and shouted. However, it was when Nainiae used the teleportation. They could not confirm if Riley heard Priesia or not.
“… He left.”
“It is incredible. This so called teleportation…”
“Young Master Riley is also amazing. Six Circles… No. He has Seven Circles mage as his maid.”
Along with light, Riley and Nainiae disappeared without a trace from the spot.
* * *
It was at the entrance of some nameless forest.
Along with flash of light, a boy and a girl came out of the light.
“What the… Hey… Why did you use the teleportation directly instead of making a doorway?”
The sudden teleportation made Riley feel a little dizzy. He turned toward Nainiae and asked. Meanwhile, Nainiae was looking around the scenery. With puzzled look, Nainiae said,
“No. I also tried to open a doorway, but…”
There was a question mark showing on her face. Riley also put on puzzled look on his face. He slowly checked the surrounding.
They were wondering what was going on. It was the scenery.
They were going to teleport to Andal’s cave. However, they were standing at the entrance of a forest where they could hear bird cries.
“It’s a forest?”
“Yes. We were supposed to be teleported to the teacher’s cave, but we were teleported to somewhere else.”
Wondering if the magic was not properly controlled, Riley looked at Nainiae. She looked around the forest and mumbled,
“This place is where I trained?”
“Place where you trained?”
“Yes. This is the place where I learned magic. This place is… the entrance to the forest that leads to the teacher’s cave.”
Perhaps the place was affected by the big bad oldman who resided here. Even though it was winter, the leaves were dyed in flame like color. Looking at the leaves, Riley narrowed his eyes.
Riley was holding his chin as he looked around the leaves. Having heard Nainiae from the side, he turned to look at her.
“What is it?”
Nainiae was vacantly staring to the front. Riley followed suit and looked to the front, and he found a bear that was slowly walking toward them.
“… A guardian.”
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