A blessing much like the one he had received in his past life.
Inaril said that she had the Blessing of the Sword. With a look of disbelief, Riley looked at her.
“That cannot be… The Blessing of the Sword can only be possessed by just one person.”
Inaril was dashing forward. Having heard Riley, Inaril pulled her chin and explained briefly why she also possessed the same blessing.
“We each lived in different worlds.”
“You are right. One person in the world where you used to live and one person in this world… The Blessing of the Sword can only be possessed by one human.”
Still unable to understand, Riley had a question mark on his face, remaining silent. Inaril added,
“I used to have the blessing...”
Having heard that, Riley realized what she was getting at. Riley furrowed his brows and looked at her.
“The sword technique I just showed you is… like a memory from when I had the blessing.”
If everything was as she had stated, then after she died, nobody would possess the Blessing of the Sword.
“Considering how your voice sounds, you must have been born into this world not long after I died. It was…as intended by the Black Butterfly.”
It seemed Inaril was aware of the Black Butterfly, the Goddess from Riley’s past life that Nainiae had met in his dreams. Getting a rough idea of what was happening, Riley nodded.
“When you died and I was born, the Blessing of the Sword was returned to me… Is that what you are trying to say?”
“It is a guess, but that’s probably right. Young Master, as you said earlier, the blessing can be possessed by only one person in the world. It is an ability from the World Below.”
The World Below…It looked like Inaril also knew about a few things regarding his past life. Riley casually asked,
“It looks like you know about certain things very well?”
“Yes…it is also the reason why I’m still alive. The one who enable me to move gave me an order along with an explanation that you will come and find me.”
“The Holy Sword…”
Inaril muttered the words ‘Holy Sword’. She paused for a moment and finished what she could not earlier.
“Deliver the Salvation to you. That is the order I was given.”
“Salvation? Were you the one who possessed it? Still, that sword doesn’t exist in this world…”
“The power from your past world is killing the people of this world. There is nothing to be surprised about a sword from your past world existing in this one.”
Inaril stopped walking. She looked around and turned to the right.
Following Inaril, he found what appeared to be a trace of someone having passed through the grass. He found more traces and furrowed his brows.
He saw a few trees that were pulled out in a mess. He caught up to Inaril and said,
“About the one you call as your pupil…I don’t know who she is, but I think her situation is quite dire. We should hurry.”
Unlike the path earlier, this area had many obstacles, so Inaril was not able to run as well as before. Riley extended his arm out and held Inaril by her waist.
“Go straight in this direction?”
“Yes, she is continuing to move. She is probably running.”
Being held by Riley, Inaril felt the wind on her face. She said,
“Mr. Riley, you said earlier that three of the purple humans are still alive, right?”
“By any chance, is a figure named Rebethra, among them? The man who is in charge of being the Heart.”
Riley thought about the mysterious arm that had come through the dimensional space and had taken the Archbishop away. He confirmed that Rebethra was among the ones who were still alive.
“It is likely to be him.”
“He must be after the Salvation.”
She was saying the Salvation, his Holy Sword, was being targeted. Since a while ago, the jolting sensation in his palm refused to stop. Riley looked at his palm and started to pour in mana into his legs.
* * *
“… Ugh, Ugh!”
Inside the forest, Ryan took a quick look behind him to see that the black space was gradually closing the distance from the back. Ryan gritted his teeth and started to pour in mana into his legs.
“Damn it… Damn it…”
He held Iril on his waist. He thought that running away might be easier if Iril snapped out of it. However, Iril bit her lower lips with tears in her eyes. She was unable to get a grip.
“If I… If I died instead…”
Iril was mumbling that she wished she had died instead of the old butler. Ryan looked at Iril. It seemed that Ryan had reached the limit of his endurance. He hid behind a large tree and gasped for air, panting.
‘Just what is that thing?’
It was not like the chaser had eyes.
It was a black space floating in the air. It occasionally had a hand jumping out of it. This monstrous object was… coming toward their direction. It was precisely targeting Iril.
‘It won’t cut with a sword either.’
Ryan’s sword had passed through the bizarre object. Meanwhile, as it was closing in with a violent intensity, the object tore off and stumped the grass and trees along its path.
‘Am I seeing things? If that’s not the case…I don’t feel any mana from it, so how could it do all that?’
Leaning on the tree, Ryan was trying to catch his breath. Tranquility came to the forest. Wondering why it was so quiet all of the sudden, he slowly peeked out from the side of the tree.
The black space that was flying through the air to chase them until a moment ago, the black hand… had disappeared without a trace.
Ryan wondered if everything that he had seen so far was just him hallucinating. Also, he thought that maybe he was dreaming. However, he could hear a sound. It sounded like something was being grinded.
Holding his breath, he focused on the sound. He realized that the sound was coming from the tree that he was leaning on.
Perhaps it was a bug instead. Ryan thought about what could make such a grinding noise through the tree. He suddenly opened his eyes big and pulled Iril.
Soon, the large tree developed a crack. Through the crack, a large purple light hand appeared and chased after Iril.
‘Damn it. I wasn’t hallucinating!’
It killed Ian. It destroyed the tree. It was chasing after them. Ryan realized that the black hand over there was not an illusion and he wasn’t dreaming. He put his hand on the sword on his waist.
Containing mana, the sword was swung at the black hand which had come very close to them. However, the black hand didn’t stop moving.
“Kuk. Damn it! Iril! We can’t continue like this. It is too much to run while holding onto you! Get a grip and run with me! Or if you are going to have that vacant look on your face…”
Taking a few steps back, he tried to convince Iril to run. However, he found Iril’s enraged face. She was biting her lips. Ryan stopped what he was going to say.
“It’s because of that bastard… isn’t it?”
“That bastard killed the one who my grandmother was longing for.”
Iril pressed down on her hat with her right hand. She put her hand toward the other sword wrapped in bandages that Ryan had been carrying separately.
“I’ll avenge him…”
“Instead of my grandmother, I will!”
The sword was not tightly wrapped in the bandages. Iril swung the sword in a large motion and unwrapped the bandages. Toward the hand that came right up to her face, she swung the sword toward it.
“Iril, no! That hand won’t!”
As Ryan feared, the sword she swung was unable to make an impact on the black hand, just like the time when Ryan tried it before with his sword. Iril’s swing went through the empty air.
Ryan was watching Iril from the back. Thinking he could not let this continue, he extended his hand toward her.
It was to pull her away from there somehow and protect her from the black hand’s reach.
‘If she dies like this, then I won’t be able to face Ian.’
Ryan thought about Ian’s face just before he died. Ian had begged Ryan to protect Iril. Ryan was able to grab onto Iril and pull her. However…He realized that there was a bigger problem now.
Another black space had appeared behind Ryan and another black hand jumped out of it.
‘… Is this the end for us?’
More than death itself, Ryan regretted not being able to carry out Ian’s dying wish. Ryan tightly closed his eyes.
‘I feel like I can understand a little about what the master told me.’
Inaril once asked Ryan if he had ever suffered the desperation of not being able to protect someone. Ryan thought about her words. However, he could hear someone’s voice.
“… That’s not how you use the sword.”
“… We will handle it from here.”
Ryan suddenly opened his eyes big.
Along with the sound of someone’s feet dragging on the ground, Ryan and Iril’s bodies were spun around once and raised up to the sky.
The woman with blinds pierced Ryan’s arm sleeve and Iril’s clothes with her staff to hang them on her staff. She swung her arm in a large motion to send them flying to the sky. Afterwards, the woman took a stance.
Ryan and Iril saw the woman who had appeared at the scene and sobbed.
Perhaps because the objects didn’t have eyes, the two black hands were unaware of the fact that Iril and Ryan were gone. The hands were charging in. Now, their target had been changed to the blind woman.
‘Now there are two.’
Just like the black hands, Inaril could not see. However, she had the senses that allowed her to feel the energies from the hands.
Inaril turned her face toward the sword that Iril dropped. She raised her right arm.
The sword was under Inaril’s feet. With that sound, the sword was stuck on her palm.
“Master! Be careful! Those hands! They are bizarre ones that dematerializes when attacked!”
Ryan shouted as he fell back down to the ground. Inaril nodded as if she understood.
‘Will it work? Like before?’
She placed the staff behind her back. With the sword close to her chest, Inaril seemed to be calm her breathing for a moment. She tried swinging the sword in her hand. It was like a dance.
‘… As I thought, it is not working.’
Cutting through the wind, the sword was swung in clean motions. However, unfortunately, it seemed that it was not possible to stop the black hands that were coming toward her.
Even his master’s sword was not able to cut the black hands. Feeling like there was nothing left now, Ryan vacantly opened his mouth.
“… Please take it. It seems to be longing for its original owner. The sword is probably wishing that it wasn’t being held by an old woman.”
Inaril was saying things that didn’t make much sense. Ryan and Iril floated question marks on their faces.
“… No. It’s not that there is anything wrong with you. This bastard only cares about the blessing. Do you think it cares about the person who wields it? It’s been sitting around and grew fat…It looks like a young master who grew up the wrong way?”
Ryan realized that there was another voice besides his master’s voice in the mix. Ryan flinched his shoulders.
‘Wait. This voice… I have heard it somewhere?’
Ryan had no idea when he showed up. Without any presence, he had just shown up out of the blue next to Inaril. The man haphazardly glanced at the black hands and grabbed hold of the sword that Inaril handed to him.
“That’s an interesting analogy. Still, it must be a treasured sword that has spent a lifetime with you… Why don’t you say something after being reunited with it?”
The black hands, which had trampled over even huge ancient trees, were right in front of his face. However, the boy and the blind woman could not look more leisurely. It was as if they were on a picnic.
“Say something after being reunited with it…”
In a respectful stance, as if she was serving a king or a god, Inaril placed the sword on her two hands and handed it to Riley. Ryan had never seen anyone being so respectful and proper. He moved his gaze.
“… I am so sick of it.”
The one who received the sword from Inaril was the youngest son of the Iphalleta Family who Ryan knew very well.