“… Young Master?”
Nainiae had come out of the carriage after Riley to follow him. From the back, she saw that Riley was vacantly petrified. She approached to him and asked carefully,
“Are you hurting somewhere? What is it?”
Nainiae looked concerned. Riley absent-mindedly lowered his right hand and said in quiet voice,
Perhaps because the subject wasn’t included in what he had just said, Nainiae tilted her head to the side as if she didn’t understand.
“I think it is in this village.”
“By any chance…”
Riley took his gaze off from his palm. He looked at the sign that read ‘Romella’ in front of the village and mumbled. Nainiae seemed to have figured out why Riley stopped. Nainiae asked,
“The sword is?”
Riley nodded in response.
“Um? Young Master? Did something happen?”
For some reason, Riley and Nainiae were just standing in front of the village. They were not moving from there. Reitri had found them like this. He was organizing the carriages, but he stopped and asked.
While staring at the village’s sign, Riley called his name. Reitri decided to leave things to Horai for the moment and responded,
“Let me ask you for a favor.”
Reitri tilted his head to the side and wondered what this was about. He asked,
“If it is about information regarding Mr. Ian, I was going to even if you didn’t ask.”
Having heard the man, Riley shook his head.
“No. Besides Ian, I have one more thing I want to ask you to do for me. You said there is an informant in this place, right?”
“Pardon? Ah, yes… that’s right, but…”
“This might be a vague request, but if it is you, then you should be able to find it on your own.”
Reitri broke out in a cold sweat and said,
“Aren’t you having too much faith in me? Compared to others, I’m pretty new at this…”
* * *
“… I’m back.”
They were at the Romella village’s pub. Because of Riley’s request, Reitri had been gathering information for the past few days. He looked rather exhausted when he returned to the pub. Reitri sat next to Riley.
“Good work. I’ll treat you.”
Unlike Reitri, it seemed that Riley had a satisfying vacation in Romella village for the past few days. Unlike the look on Reitri’s face, Riley was looking very refreshed.
Looking at Riley, Reitri thought to himself why he was not born as a noble. Riley handed him a wine. Reitri relaxed his stuffy face and drank a sip from it.
“So, any progress?”
It seemed Riley was feeling guilty for working Reitri so much. He decided to order the most expensive snack for the drink. Riley asked the waiter for a menu and asked Reitri.
It seemed Reitri was very thirsty. He chugged on the wine and blurred the end of the sentence while avoiding Riley’s gaze.
“I have one useful news, and…”
“What do you mean ‘and’?”
“I have two bad news. What would you like to hear first?”
Reitri said he had useful, not ‘good’, information and two relatively bad news pieces. Riley had been looking calm so far, but now he frowned.
It seemed Reitri had been expecting this response. Reitri sighed with an uncomfortable look on his face. Riley turned his eyebrows back to the original angle and said,
“It was not like I was not expecting this at all but to think there are two bad news pieces…”
Perhaps due to insufficient sleep, Reitri looked tired. Because of this, Riley couldn’t let out his frustration at Reitri. He thought hard about this for a moment and chose the second option. Riley said,
“Well, they say it is better to just get the beating first… Let’s hear the bad news first. Why are you so concerned about them?”
Reitri took another sip of the wine and started to explain.
He looked anxious. It seemed like he was hoping that Riley would not be infuriated after hearing what he was about to explain.
“First… I would like to tell you first that it seems Mr. Ian … has not been to this village yet.”
As expected, Riley’s face hardened again.
It looked like Reitri was expecting this to happen. The man was about to cry. He was not able to look at Riley in the eyes. Reitri just directed his gaze at the empty glass and continued.
“Maybe Mr. Ian went off to somewhere else on the way. Otherwise, maybe something happened to him… Although we won’t be able to find that out, it seems he has not arrived in Romella village yet. I asked around and people said nobody like that had come here.”
Riley flinched his facial muscles and said,
“Ian, this rascal is really…”
Riley mumbled ‘doing all sorts of things’ inside and waited for Reitri to speak.
“A… Anyway! I intend to keep on searching for more information about Mr. Ian. Maybe he went straight to Rainfield without stopping by at the Romella village or he didn’t come this far yet. Regardless, we probably won’t miss him.”
Reitri asked Riley to wait a little longer for information about Ian. Now, Reitri started to talk about the other bad news.
“The next one is about the great danger that’s about to reach Romella village.”
Riley tilted his head to the side and asked. Reitri nodded and continued.
“Yes. About the epidemic from last time… you remember it, right? This is happening because of that.”
Riley thought about the epidemic man, the pitch-black skinned purple human. Riley put on a serious look on his face.
“What about that epidemic?”
“Because of that epidemic, the monsters that had been living at the border started to migrate.”
“Yes. Because it was an incredibly fearsome epidemic that drenched the entire desert in black. The monsters probably started to move to survive.”
Reitri nodded and started to explain about the great migration of the monsters.
“Perhaps because of the monsters’ migration, Solia and Ansyrium are currently under cease-fire. Well, Ansyrium probably agreed to it because they have their hands full with trying to stop the epidemic that’s coming towards their country.”
It looked like Riley was getting what Reitri was saying. He thought about monsters that must be migrating to avoid the epidemic and asked,
“So, the monsters that are on the great migration are…”
“Yes. The word is that they will show up at the village in a few days. This is accurate information. So, because of the great migration of the monsters, I am afraid it might get more difficult for us to cross paths with Mr. Ian.”
“So that’s why you said it is a bad news.”
Riley turned his head away after hearing Reitri’s explanation. Riley looked around the pub and put up a question mark on his face.
“For a village that is about to be overrun by monsters, the mood here is…”
“… Young Master! Young Master!”
Riley was about to ask something he found curious. However, Nainiae rushed to the table, so Riley flinched his shoulders.
“What is it?”
She brought the food he ordered earlier on a plate. She placed it on the table and said,
Nainiae pointed at something that was on the plate. Riley and Reitri’s gazes automatically leaned toward the direction.
She was pointing at black liquid inside a clear glass. Its tingling taste was the best, so Riley liked this drink especially. It was the brown sugar beer.
“I just figured this out. The thing called cola that you mentioned… It was the brown sugar beer?”
She had made an entrance out of the blue and the question was also out of the blue. As if he was at a loss for words, Riley had his mouth open vacantly. Reitri tilted his head to the side and wondered what this was about.
Pointing at the brown sugar beer, Nainiae uttered a word that Reitri had never heard before, so he asked. Riley glared at Nainiae and said,
“No, it’s an inside joke between me and Nainiae.”
Feeling his gaze, Nainiae broke out in a cold sweat and promptly lowered her head to apologize.
“I… I’m sorry.”
Nainiae had a gloomy look on her face. Having noticed this, Reitri smiled awkwardly. He got a piece of the food from the plate, put it in his mouth and said,
“Well, as long as Ms. Nainiae stays here… It looks like I won’t have to worry about the village being in danger because of the monsters migrating.”
Riley waved his hand around to indicate he had enough of that discussion. He had Nainiae sit next to him and asked what he could not earlier.
“Setting aside Nainiae for now, if the information about the village being in danger soon because of the monsters approaching is true… I think the village’s atmosphere feels too peaceful?”
Having heard the question, Reitri nodded as if he was waiting for this. Reitri explained why.
“Ah, yes! It seems there is a reason, although it is a rumor that lacks credibility.”
“What’s the reason and what’s the rumor?”
“I think this is related to the useful information that I will be telling you, so I think it will lead to that.”
Reitri was saying that the useful information he mentioned earlier might be closely related to the reason why the village was so peaceful. He ate another piece of meat and explained,
“Because of the great migration of the monsters, their village could be destroyed soon, yet they are not panicking at all. Why do you think they could afford to be like this?”
Reitri pointed at Nainiae with the fork that he used to pick up the meat and asked. Nainiae seemed to be thinking for a moment. She responded based on the conversation earlier as the hint.
“Because they know the village won’t be destroyed?”
Reitri lowered the fork and said that was the answer. Riley furrowed his brows and asked,
“What is this? Did you run your mouth and let everyone know in this village about her identity?”
“No. I didn’t say anything to anyone about you or Ms. Nainiae.”
“In that case?”
Riley looked puzzled.
“In Romella village… At the outer bound of the village to be precise, I heard that a witch lives there.”
Reitri nodded, took a moment to calm his breathing and continued.
“They don’t mean in a bad way. They mean in a good way. In other words…She is a witch who the villagers do not shun away from.”
“There are witches like that?”
Riley knew that the title of a witch was never a good one to have in this world. He tilted his head around with puzzled look on his face.
“The news about the monsters’ migration has spread among the villagers, but they are feeling safe and continuing their daily lives probably because of that witch. They believe that the witch will protect the village.”
“A good witch… That is what you are trying to say?”
Reitri nodded and responded. This time, Nainiae asked Reitri,
“If she is a witch… Does she use magic? What’s her Circles?”
Reitri shook his head.
“No. I heard she does not use magic.”
“What? Why is she called a witch if she cannot use magic?”
Riley had a look on his face. He looked like a seasoned fisherman sitting in front of the fishing pole who just noticed the fishes were nibbling at the bait. Riley asked why she was called a witch.
‘By any chance, is this…?’
Riley wondered if this witch was the last purple human that he had not encountered yet. Reitri said,
“I’m also looking into why she ended up with the title of ‘witch.’ However… the elders who grew up in this village called her by the following title.”
Reitri took a dramatic pause for a moment and said,
“Romella village’s sword witch.”
Riley and Nainiae asked and Reitri nodded, adding
“It seems that she might be… related to the thing that you asked me to find, Young Master.”