Riley was going past a few dozen trees with each step. He felt a presence above him, so he casually tilted his head up to see what was there and stopped dashing.
“What is it?”
Riley dragged his two feet on the ground and stopped the momentum. Watching a maid falling from the sky slowly like a feather, Riley crumpled his face.
“I said, what is it?”
Her Young Master was looking at her as if he was asking what she was doing. The maid pressed down her skirt and landed on the ground.
“Hey. Why are you coming down from the sky?”
“Right. Explain it.”
Nainiae pursed her lips and carefully explained why she just fell from the sky.
“I used a magic spell.”
“What kind of magic?”
“Fly. It is a flight magic.”
Having heard the explanation, Riley smiled refreshingly and asked,
“Wasn’t that supposed to be not possible here?”
“It slipped my mind.”
Riley was smiling, and… Nainiae wondered if she should smile too or if she should maintain her apologetic face. Nainiae pondered about this. Soon, she decided to go with the apology and lowered her head.
“I am sorry. I just remembered, so I was about to tell you, but the four people suddenly showed up, so… Also, you went ahead without me, so… I had no choice but to use the magic so I could catch up with you. Although it is late, I can cas uu u uuuuuuu…”
Her face was grabbed by two hands. Her cheeks were grabbed and stretched out like marshmallow.
“…. I’m sorry.”
With stretched out pronunciation, Nainiae apologized again. Riley was letting out his frustration by holding her cheeks. Looking really pissed at Nainiae, Riley mumbled,
“You should have thought of it sooner. Sooner.”
Gritting his teeth hard, Riley was pulling out Nainiae’s cheeks. Having had enough, he unhanded her cheeks and growled at her.
She raised her left hand to hold her reddened cheek. She raised her right hand to use magic. Nainiae felt around the empty space with her hand and made Riley’s body float up first.
“You used it?”
Floating like cloud, his feet lifted off from the ground. Riley looked intrigued. He tried moving his feet in the air.
One step, two step…
Unlike swimming, he realized that moving his legs didn’t make his body move forward or backward. He looked at Nainiae who floated up after him.
“I can’t move as I want?”
“The magic isn’t giving us wings or the ability to direct the flight, so…. That will be hard.”
“Is that so?”
Having heard Nainiae’s explanation, Riley grabbed the sword from his waist. For no apparent reason, he tried swinging it in front of him.
His sword spread blue mana to the air and caused a shockwave sound. Riley’s body, which was floating in the air, suddenly moved as if he was pulled to the back.
Watching Riley move in the air by swinging the sword, watching his ability to repurpose skills for the situation, it seemed Nainiae was at lost for words. She just vacantly opened her mouth.
“With a method like that… I guess it is possible.”
“This is pretty fun.”
Riley swung the sword several times and moved around in the air. Nainiae was already far from him. Looking at Nainiae, Riley tilted his head to the side.
“Where are you going?”
“That is… Young Master, you are the one who is moving.”
Nainiae vacantly muttered. She asked if she could be excused for a moment. She used telekinesis to pull Riley to where she was.
“As I thought, magic is mysterious.”
With just hand gestures, magic could be used to make a person float up in the air or pull a person from the distance. Riley said muttered as if found magic very attractive. Nainiae shrugged her shoulders and said,
“I find the way you swing your sword to be more of a mystery.”
Nainiae watched Riley’s sword going back to the sheath at his waist. She used the float magic again.
“Well then, we will go straight to the teacher’s cave.”
“All right. Let’s go see his face soon. We came this far for a good reason, yet he won’t even come out to see us. Gosh.”
Nainiae swung her hand to increase the floating speed and moved toward Andal’s cave which could be seen at the top of the mountain.
They flew for about a minute. Nainiae’s and Riley’s bodies, which were floating in the air, started to fall by the gravity.
“What is this?”
It seemed the distance to the cave was shortened substantially because Riley had been climbing by dashing huge distances. Realizing the ground was coming closer, Riley asked Nainiae,
“Are we there already?”
Thanks to her flight magic, Riley was able to climb the remaining distance with relative ease. He looked at the huge cliff in front of him and tilted his head to the side.
“This place is not the top?”
“It is the top, but it is not the top.”
“Don’t talk like a summon spirit. Speak like a human being.”
“It’s as I said. I think you should be able to tell, Young Master. Can you tell?”
Having heard Nainiae, Riley widened his senses and realized the scenery in front of him felt strange. He had a look on his face as if he understood.
“This is also magic?”
“Yes. It’s an isolation barrier.”
To disengage the isolation barrier, Nainiae was looking around the place. She started to feel the ground and boulders around the cliff.
“As I thought, the isolation barrier had been strengthened substantially since the last time.”
She was fiddling with a boulder, and flame suddenly surged from it. Surprised, she took a few steps back. She looked like she was not sure about what to do. She started to look around the place again.
“To disengage this, I think it will take …”
Riley glanced at Nainiae who was looking around the isolation barrier. As if he didn’t want to bother with waiting, he brought his hand toward the sword on his waist.
“We are going in.”
His sword was swung without any sound. His sword went past the isolation barrier as it drew long blue line. The isolation barrier started to crumple in zigzag shape.
“… some time.”
Nainiae watched Andal’s isolation barrier being cut open by Riley’s sword swing. Nainiae vacantly muttered,
“What are you doing? Let’s go?”
Watching Riley going in to the gap created by the cut, Nainiae, who was standing there vacantly, tumbled and followed suit. She thought,
‘That’s our Young Master all right.’
Other than Riley, there probably never was any human being who could break the isolation barrier cast by a dragon with a sword swing, and there probably never will be anyone in the future who would be capable of doing this.
Stepping inside the isolation barrier through the cut, Riley called for Andal. He looked around the scenery inside which was slowly changing.
It seemed like they were at the right place. It looked like the place that he had visited before through the pub. Riley called for Andal’s name again and let out his frustration.
“By any chance, it is not like he is currently absent from this place when we came all the way here to visit him, right?”
Riley called twice, yet no response could be heard, so he was thinking about the worse possible scenario. It was at that moment. He could hear the sound of flame burning up.
<… Who are you?>
It was a familiar voice.
“Ah, you showed up at last.”
Riley turned his head with leisurely face. Nainiae turned her head with joyful face to look at the direction of the voice.
Burning flame in midair, Heliona was summoned starting from the tip of her feet. She found the two people inside the cave and started to rub her eyes.
<Young Master Riley and… Nainiae?>
Nainiae missed Heliona. She opened her arms big. Heliona, who was just floating there in the air with blank look on her face, flew to Nainiae and was embraced. It seemed Heliona missed Nainiae too.
“Phew… I’m so glad. I didn’t know what I would do if you didn’t recognize me too like other guardians.”
<Come on! Why would I not recognize you?>
“This would be your second time to see her like this. If you don’t recognize her… then you should go see a doctor who specializes in summon spirit or something. Holy Power does not work on a summon spirit, right?”
Hearing Riley going off the tangent, Heliona flinched her shoulders.
“A… Anyway! How did this happen? I thought you were at the spirit world, but to think you were actually here in the cave and guarding it… What’s this isolation barrier for? Why are all guardians all on the edge? Where’s the teacher?”
Having heard Nainiae asking about what happened to Andal, her teacher, Heliona put up concerned look on face. Not sure about how she could handle this, she just avoided the gaze.
It seemed it was a question that was hard to respond to. Heliona was blurring the end of the sentence. Riley shrugged his shoulders and asked,
“What is it? Is he molting his scales or something because he is a lizard?”
“Stripping… No. I’m asking if he is shedding his skin.”
Glancing at Nainiae to check on her mood, Riley changed how he worded the sentence and asked. Heliona shook her head and that was not it.
<I think it will be easier to just show you and explain.>
Heliona got out of Nainiae’s arms and started to fly toward a corner of the cave.
She flew to a blind corner. She entered another cave inside the cave and showed a hand gesture to tell Riley and Nainiae to follow her. They walked to where Heliona was.
Riley was following Heliona who flew ahead. However, he suddenly cringed and sniffed.
“This smell is?”
Nainiae noticed Riley cringing. She also focused on her sense of smell and sniffed several times. Nainiae cringed her face like Riley.
“Young Master, by any chance, this is…”
Nainiae guessed what the source of the smell was. She was about to say something to Riley, but Heliona spoke first.
<We are here.>
Riley and Nainiae stopped walking after hearing what Heliona said. They saw red scales in front of them and tilted their heads up.
Huge talons, huge body, and huge wings becoming of the body… The appearances reflected on their eyes in that order.
It seemed the dragon heard their voices. The dragon with large, red body struggled and opened his eyes.
<… Who is it?>
Heliona was flying between Riley and Nainiae. She responded instead.
<They are Young Master Riley and Nainiae.>
<Riley? Ah, that Riley?>
Andal seemed relieved. He closed his eyes, but he appeared to be in pain. He struggled and started to turn his body.
“Are you trying to take winter nap out of the blue? Why did you transform back to your original form and…”
Watching his friend looking lethargic, Riley laughed and teased him as always. However, he noticed something dark and stopped talking.
<As you can see.>
While lying down, Andal turned his body to show his arm which had turned black. In pain, Andal cringed his face.
<… I was done in.>
Nainiae vacantly stared at his darkened arm. Finding it hard to believe, Nainiae muttered,
<It is faint, but similar smell is coming from you guys… By any chance, were you at the Karuta Desert?>
Andal briefly coughed and said,
<The people who can use special abilities without mana… What did you guys call them? Purple humans?>
<Hair, skin, bodily fluid, blood… From the tip of the hairs on the head to the bottom of the feet, this human was drenched in poison.>
Andal narrowly opened his eyes and looked at Riley and Nainiae.
<His ability was special, but what was even weirder was… what the bastard said as soon as he met me.>
“What did he say?”
<He asked me to kill him.>
This was the same story that they heard from Reitri. As if he wanted Andal to explain more, Riley narrowed his eyes.
However, Andal could not help but to close his eyes without continuing his words.
It seemed he was not able to handle his body very well because of the infection in one of his arms.
“What is it? Hey! Shouldn’t you finish what you were about to say?”
It appeared that Andal was asleep. Although Riley shouted all of the sudden, there was no response from him.
Riley asked Heliona,
“What’s the matter with him?”
<It’s because of the poison.>
Heliona nodded and said,
<I don’t know what kind of poison it is… Master used cleansing magic several times, but he was unable to detoxify the poison. He is in the current state because he is trying to handle the poison. The isolation barrier was strengthened and the guardians were warned as a measure in response to the master’s rapidly weakened state.>
Nainiae understood what happened. With concerned face, she looked at Andal who was asleep.
After hearing Heliona’s explanation, Riley vacantly stared at his friend lying down. Riley mumbled,
“I can’t let this be. Now that it came to this…”
Nainiae casually turned her head and looked at Riley who had his arms crossed. Riley said after a moment of pause,
“… It’s time for kidnapping.”
As if he had no time to waste, he quickly turned around and headed to leave the cave. Nainiae tumbled and followed him.
‘Kidnapping? Why all of the sudden?’
His proposition was so out of the blue. Nainiae pondered who he was trying to kidnap. Soon, she figured out who.
She asked Riley as she thought about the prospective kidnap subject.
“Are you really going to snatch her away?”
Having heard her question, Riley flinched and stopped walking. As if he was at loss for words, he turned to look at her.