‘What the…? Why?’
Feeling the blood drops splattered on her face, by the hand encased in purple light that filled a part of her vision…Iril’s thought process came to a sudden halt.
“This…. This is… Why all of the sudden?”
As if it was disappointed about missing its target, the hand fiddled with its fingers. Ian looked at the hand. Having managed to hold on to his consciousness, Ian muttered,
“As I thought, there are still… remnants…”
Blood was gushing out from Ian’s pierced chest. He looked at Iril in front of him and struggled to talk.
Ian had a blank look on his face. It seemed that he was unable to comprehend the situation. With a pale blue face, he started to open and close his mouth.
“Ah, ah ah…”
Was it because Iril was not able to get a grip? Ian crumpled his face to stay conscious despite the pain. He pushed Iril away hard and said,
“The one… that this hand is targeting is… you. So… please… run away… as far as you can…”
Even after being pushed by Ian’s hand, Iril was still petrified as if she hadn’t snapped out of it yet.
“That is… Just what are you…”
“… Young Master Ryan!”
Ian concluded that he could not let this be. He quickly turned his head towards Ryan and shouted. Ryan also had his mouth vacantly open. Having heard the shouting, he flinched his shoulders.
“Take the young lady to safety…”
Even though Ian’s chest had been pierced and was gushing out blood, he was still conscious and thinking hard to make the right decision. Watching this, Ryan realized why Ian was called a hero by the mercenaries. Ryan gritted his teeth and started to move his legs.
After getting a grip, Ryan came to Iril and started to pull her arm.
“G… Gramps… Gramps!”
Iril started to struggle and extended her hand out desperately towards Ian.
Ian was holding on to the hand that had pierced his chest. Toward Iril who was being dragged away by Ryan, Ian said with great difficulty,
“To my… To your master… Please deliver this message for me.”
Based on the sword and the response that the girl showed, Ian thought that the master who fell by his sword must be still alive. Ian pulled together his fleeing consciousness and said,
“Please tell her I am sorry.”
Ryan, who was pulling Iril away, looked at the butler’s face.
Considering the hand that had pierced his chest and the amount of blood loss, Ryan was sure that Ian definitely knew that this was going to be his death. However…Ian could not look more determined.
“… Please tell her that…”
Ian struggled to continue.
“… I adored her.”
The light in the butler’s eyes was growing lifeless. Ryan bit his lips. He nodded and started to pull Iril away again.
“G… Gramps! Let… go! Gramps!”
Iril was being pulled back. She shouted and struggled.
“My grandmother! He is the one who my grandmother longed to meet again for so long! I must bring him to her! I cannot let… I cannot let it be like this!”
“Iril, we must go.”
“Instead of me… That old man needs to be brought to grandmother! Let me go… Let go! Ryan! Ryan!!”
Ryan was born with exceptional muscular strength. With that, he earned the title of Strong-sword at the mansion.
Iril was ahead of Ryan when it came to skills and fine movements. However, when it came to raw strength, Iril could not win against Ryan.
“We must leave!”
Ryan shouted at Iril. It seemed the purple light hand realized that it missed the target. The hand started to move back.
Ian was desperately trying to hold on to the hand. Now, he faltered and got on his knees.
‘Damn it. Just what kind of ability is this? Is it related to dimensions? It takes physical form when it attacks and disappears like smoke when it isn’t attacking? Is that a part of its abilities?’
Back in Ian’s prime, he had run into a few ‘purple humans’ with similar powers. Ian was shaking his eyes to desperately hold on to his consciousness that was becoming fainter.
‘It’s dangerous. I must warn Young Master Ryan… It will close the distance in an instant and target her again.’
The purple space appeared behind Iril in a blink of an eye and the hand jumped out of it. Thinking about this, Ian raised his hand toward Iril and Ryan who were moving further away.
‘If that young lady is Inaril’s… my master’s will… No… If she dies here, the tragedy might repeat.’
To be precise, Ian was trying to reach for them with his arm.
Now, his vision had already gone dark. His body fell to a pool of his own blood.
‘Am I… going to die like this?’
Perhaps it was the weather. Perhaps it was the wind coming into the hole in his chest. Ian thought it was getting cold. Before he died, he thought about Riley.
‘… It’s cold.’
Thinking about Riley who must be on a winter trip with Nainiae, Ian mumbled inside,
‘Young Master, please watch out for… cold.’
He was going to think about the people from the mansion and other mercenaries he had met so far. However…Sadly, his dying wish would not continue to the end.
It was because he could hear a voice.
‘Am I hearing things?’
In the utter darkness, the voice was coming from above. The voice sounded familiar. It was the voice of the youngest son of Count Stein in Iphalleta family.
“What are you doing here?”
Ian could clearly hear the voice. Ian figured the phantom voice before death must be extra special. He smiled and waited for the end.
“That lass is at the inn, right?”
“Yes, she is probably there.”
The voice of Riley, the Young Master he had missed so much, was not the only voice Ian was hearing. Now, Ian could also hear Nainiae’s voice. Ian was now thinking that the phantom voices were quite generous considering that he was on his way to death. The voices could be heard again through Ian’s ears.
“Hurry and take this rascal there. He is still breathing. As long as you take him there, she should be able to save him. He is one tough rascal.”
“What about you, Young Master?”
Ian was smiling while facing death. The tilted-up tips of his mouth were bent the other way after sensing something terrifying.
“I will go find the one...”
Ian’s consciousness was faint because he was on brink of death. However, the sensation was enough to shock him awake. The deadly intent was so sharp that it felt like just breathing was enough to get one’s neck cut.
“…The little bastard who did this to Ian…”
The sound of a sword being drawn… It was barely audible. The one responsible for the deadly aura said,
“… I’m going to hunt down and beat the shit out of the bastard.”
* * *
At a forest near the Romella Village, a blind woman was tightly holding her staff and running through the grass.
As soon as she moved to the forest with Riley and Nainiae, she felt the smell of blood. Inaril tumbled and rushed to the direction. Now, she felt an evil energy not so far from here. She was chasing after it.
As for the man who was collapsed and bleeding, she had left him to Riley and Nainiae. To find her granddaughter and her pupil, she was rushing through the forest. Inaril quickly turned to the right.
‘Someone is targeting me… Who could it be?’
Instead of the energy from her granddaughter or her pupil, Inaril was chasing after the energy from a sword that was similar to her own. She felt a presence that was catching up to her in fearsome speed. Inaril turned her head around.
Without any sound, a sword was flying toward her with mana. Inaril detected the sword. She stopped running and swung her staff on her right hand.
Because it contained mana, the sword’s power was as deadly as its speed. When it collided with Inaril’s staff, her body was pushed far back.
“I would like you to explain in detail what happened and what is happening.”
Soon, from the direction that Inaril was facing, a low voice could be heard along with footsteps.
“The thing is, my butler almost died.”
Inaril realized it was Riley who threw the sword at her. She mumbled his name.
“Although I don’t like bothersome things, I don’t like my own people being messed with.”
He drew another sword from his waist and aimed it at Inaril. Riley asked a question to Inaril.
“My butler was with your granddaughter and your pupil. How come he is on the ground with a hole in his chest? I would like to definitely find out why.”
“Did you do it? Is that your specialty?”
Having heard his question, Inaril was going to shake her head, but instead, she quickly twisted her upper body.
“… Well then.”
It was because another sword had been thrown toward her face.
“What is it? You better explain properly.”
Riley had thrown two swords at her to threaten her to speak. The look on the man’s face was cold as ice.
“Mr. Riley, what happened to your butler is very unfortunate. However, it probably wasn’t my pupil or my granddaughter who did it.”
Riley wiggled his eyebrows.
“Are you saying you did it then?”
“Please calm yourself. I was with you the whole time.”
“I’m asking if you had a hand in it.”
Inaril shook her head once again and said,
“The purple humans that the Basilisk mentioned…How many of them did you say you have met so far?”
Riley thought about the purple humans he met so far and said,
“In that case, you are one short of all six parts.”
It seemed Inaril was well aware of the purple humans. Riley subdued his deadly aura toward her a little and heeded to what she had just explained.
“Please follow me. We don’t have the time to do this here right now.”
Inaril started to move. Riley retrieved the swords he had thrown at Inaril and followed her.
“Mr. Riley, of the purple humans you have met so far, how many did you finish off for good…What I mean is, how many did you incinerate?”
The dark mage Hurial who controls corpses and Kabal the mercenary with monstrous strength… Riley had made certain of their deaths. He explained about the other purple humans.
“One bastard ran off. One became a fool. As for the last one, that one cannot be hunted down at the moment. That makes five.”
Having heard his explanation, Inaril, who was pulling her chin and running, said in a low voice,
“That must be the Left Leg, the friend named Epidemic.”
“It looks like you know him well.”
She paused for a moment and added,
“I am no longer a part of them, but I used to be one of the purple humans in the past.”
Riley and Inaril were running side by side. With piercing gaze, Riley glared at Inaril’s face.
“Six parts… Right Hand, Left Hand, Right Leg, Left Leg, Head, and Heart… The people with special powers who appear to be purple in Basilisks’ eyes were called by those names.”
“In that case…”
“Yes, I was the Right Hand.”
Riley felt a presence in the front. He redirected his gaze to the front.
Along the path that they were running through, there was a monster with the face of hyena. It was lurking around with a flail.
“… I’ll handle this.”
Although she could not see, it seemed that she could detect the smell or roar of beasts. She tightly grabbed the staff. She swung her right hand as soon as she closed the distance.
“Khe, Kuk! Kuuuu…. Kuk!”
The monster revealed its animosity toward the two humans that were running toward it. It swung its flail to smash the Inaril’s head who was charging towards it. However, the flail missed its target. It merely grazed the empty air.
While running with Inaril, Riley opened his eyes big after seeing Inaril demonstrating her swordsmanship.
‘It cannot be…’
The monster’s head fell.
“This was… my ability as the Right Hand among the purple humans.”
After cutting down the monster, Inaril started to run again. She said in a quiet voice,
“The Blessing of the Sword.”
“Of course, the place I lived must have been completely different from where you were, so the swordsmanship couldn’t be identical down to the fine movements, but… It is like the blessing that you have.”