“… Wake me up when she returns.”
Riley hit his back and moaned like an old man who was hurting. He was about to go lie down on the bed. Heliona stared at Riley, thinking what a fool he was. She casually turned her head.
Just now, she felt a presence from the dimensional portal and Nainiae walked in with a gloomy face.
Riley had his hand on the bed. He just needed to turn and lie down. With surprised look on his face, he turned his head.
He looked at the portal; he then looked at the girl in white getup and the maid girl under the mask who followed behind.
‘What the… How could she come back so soon…’
Nainiae found Riley who was about to lie down on the bed. She showed Priesia, the one she abducted.
“Young Master, first, as you requested, I abducted… her.”
Perhaps it was to do the abduction right. Priesia had blind on her eyes, and her hands were tied by a rope. Nainiae pointed them out as if she was showing them off with pride. Nainiae took off her mask. She looked like she was expecting praise from Riley.
“Ah, you don’t have to worry about sounds. I put a sound-proof spell on her, so she should not be able to hear us.”
Nainiae explained that she completely blocked Priesia’s vision and hearing. Nainiae pointed at Priesia who was shaking in fear. Priesia carefully said,
“W… Who are you? What happened? I don’t know why you are doing this all of sudden, but I am a Priestess. If you do anything careless to me…”
Riley looked at Priesia. Dumbfounded, Riley turned to look at Nainiae.
‘Weren’t you guys friends?’
It seemed Nainiae was clueless about her abducted friend shaking in fear. Instead, Nainiae was like a puppy waiting for her master to praise her.
“First… untie this.”
Riley pointed at Priesia’s wrist and plummeted at the bed.
“Excuse me… I don’t know why you brought me here, but if you need my help, then why don’t we slowly talk about it…”
Although Priesia was currently abducted and could not see or hear, she was trying to negotiate with the kidnappers. Finding it to be ridiculous, Riley approached Nainiae.
“You were not discovered?”
“There were a few guards watching her, but I didn’t want to resort to violence, so… I handled it by making them fall asleep. It was easy afterwards.”
Nainiae shrugged her shoulders and said it was nothing. Riley looked like he was impressed. He looked at her and said,
“It must have been. It didn’t even take a minute?”
“I thought you would be waiting, so…”
Riley was impressed because he thought the process and end result would have been just as efficient even if the setting was the Holy Temple or the guards were skilled holy knights.
‘The Nobles always talked about mages, and now… I really understand why. If a skilled mage can handle something like this by herself without leaving any trace… I can definitely understand why they would obsess over having one.’
The nobles had panicked big time during the Astroa incident and when the Magic Tower collapsed. Riley had just experienced firsthand why the nobles cared so much about mages. Riley directed his gaze at Priesia.
Riley used his right hand to point at his ear and his left hand to his neck. It seemed Nainiae understood what he was trying to ask. She cast two different magic at once.
After seeing Nainiae using the magic, Riley checked that his voice had changed. He walked to Priesia and said,
“Can you hear me?”
“… You are?”
In fear, Priesia was shriveling. Having heard the voice, she carefully turned her face to where Riley was standing.
“In this situation, my identify is not important. What’s important is that you have been abducted and you are a Priestess.”
“You are saying that you abducted me knowing that I’m a Priestess.”
Priesia muttered in weary voice. She put strength in her shoulders and asked,
“What do you want?”
“Miss, it looks like we understand each other. Instead of saying things like ‘save me’ or ‘spare my life,’ I like that you are going straight to the point. I like that.”
Listening to the belittling voice, Priesia bit her lips and warned Riley.
“I’ll tell you this first. If you are after money, then you are making a big mistake.”
Riley was about to wear the mask that Nainiae gave him earlier. However, having heard what Priesia just said, he stared at her face for a moment as if he was dumbfounded. Soon, he figured out what it was about and said,
“Are you talking about reward placed on you at Solia, Ansyrium and other places? There is no need to worry. I am not interested in money.”
Riley covered his head with the mask and put his hand on the blind on Priesia’s eyes.
Someone’s hand touched her face and her shoulders flinched because of that. Priesia was petrified after hearing the threatening words from Riley.
“Open your eyes.”
Although the blind was removed, Priesia was still choking in fear and had her eyes closed. She slowly opened her eyes.
“This place is…”
Priesia finally realized that she was no longer in the desert with sand wind. Instead, she was in a dark cave. Priesia looked at Riley who was wearing a mask.
Only a moment ago, Priesia was inside Reitri Merchant Group’s carriage in middle of the desert. Now, she was inside a gigantic cave. Priesia could not understand how this was possible. She vacantly muttered,
“It had only been a while?”
“Nothing good will come from knowing where this place is or how you got here. Priestess, you just need to do what we ask. If you do, we will send you back safely.”
Riley figured it would be best to get the job done before Priesia rolls her brain some more. Riley pushed Priesia’s shoulders from the back to go to a different place.
They stopped in front of large red scales.
Priesia looked up the sleeping red dragon. It seemed she was overwhelmed by the size. She vacantly had her mouth open. Meanwhile, Riley went straight to the point.
“Priestess, I would like you to heal this rascal’s illness?”
Having heard Riley, she looked back and forth between the mask and the red scales. Confused, Priesia said,
“W… what is this…”
“He’s a friend of mine.”
“Since you asked, I’m just telling you. He is a friend.”
“Friend…. You say? A red dragon is your friend?”
With a look of disbelief, Priesia stared at Riley. Riley shrugged and said that was the case.
Priesia shook her head and said it was nonsense. Annoyed, Riley sighed. Instead of explaining more, he skipped it and said again,
“We don’t want anything of substance from you. This lizard is struggling due to an illness. We just want you to give him a shot of your holy power.”
Riley pushed Priesia’s back once again and showed Andal’s arm to Priesia. His arm was infected with the epidemic.
“The part that’s stained in black… You have seen it before, right?”
Priesia confirmed that the dragon’s arm that Riley pointed at was stained in black color. She narrowed her eyes.
“It is the same bastard as the one you cleansed in Karuta Desert.”
Having heard what Riley said, she thought about the black sand at the desert. She carefully observed the dragon’s arm and asked carefully,
“May I observe it… from up close?”
“All right. It’s not like we are kidnappers. We are asking you for a favor, so we can accommodate that much.”
She was allowed to do so right away. Priesia was not certain if the masked man was a good guy or a bad guy. Priesia tilted her head to the side and carefully walked to the red dragon’s arm.
‘This color, this stench… It really is the epidemic. He is infected just like how it was with the sand in Karuta Desert.’
She leaned her face toward the arm and cringed due to the stench. Priesia looked at Riley under the mask.
“This dragon… Why are you healing him?”
“By any chance… Are you healing him with the intention of doing horrible things later?”
Priesia asked while glaring at him. Riley also furrowed his brows and glared at Priesia.
“Why are you asking such a question?”
She didn’t answer.
‘By any chance… Is it because of the divine message?’
Riley remembered the divine message that he heard from Priesia during last spring at the Solia Castle and crumpled his face.
‘Well, as the divine message said, a dragon did cause havoc at Solia last time, so… her concern is warranted, but…’
Riley had once blocked the dragon’s breath that was shot by the dragon with black eyes that was summoned by Rebethra during the battle at the Lower Solia. Thinking about it, Riley cringed.
“Even if I told you that I am not healing him with bad intentions in mind, it doesn’t look like you will believe me anyway? So what should I tell you?”
“I just don’t like seeing my source of freeload… No, I just don’t like to see my dear friend in pain. It’s such a bother. That’s all. I have no other motives. Because that’s all there is to it, I don’t have anything else to say to you.”
Riley shrugged as he said that. Priesia’s eyes had been staring at Riley. Now, her eye colors started to change slowly.
From her original dark brown eye color, her iris color was changing to the color of golden light. Riley realized what Priesia was trying to do. Intrigued, Riley thought,
‘Is it the power of the Priestess?’
Her golden eyes… They were the eyes that were said to be able to tell if the person she was facing was telling the truth or was lying.
“I’ll ask again. Do you really… have no bad intentions toward this dragon once he has healed?”
Having heard the question, Riley felt there was no need to be concerned about it. He just shrugged and said,
In silence, Priesia gazed upon Riley’s eyes that could be seen through the mask’s opening. She suddenly closed her eyes and sighed.
Priesia placed her hand at Andal’s arm and started to use her holy power.
“Honestly, I have a mountain of questions, but…”
Riley was impressed. He thought Priesia was a Priestess for a good reason.
“First, I’ll grant your request.”
As soon as she started to use her holy power, Andal’s scales, which were stained with black because of the epidemic, started to regain its color rapidly.
“As a Priestess, I cannot just ignore a being who is suffering from illness.”
Andal’s scales were stained with black on the claws, arm and the shoulder. Now, the parts completely recovered and regained their original color.
<… It worked!>
“I’m so glad.”
Heliona and Nainiae were in a corner so that Priesia could not see them. In secret, they were watching Andal’s arm being cleansed. After seeing the result, they both sighed in relief, but then they suddenly opened their eyes big.
The red dragon, who was asleep, opened his eyes.
<… Uu, Uum?>
The dragon’s eyeball still looked unfocused as if he was still not quite awake. Facing the eyeball, Riley placed a hand at his waist and leaned his face at it.
“You sure were a bother. Are you awake?”