Riley that Ryan knew was the kind of person who refused to leave the library during the winter and stayed right next to the fireplace and cocoa. However, Riley was in the forest near Romella Village. Ryan couldn’t figure out why Riley was here.
‘Why is he here?’
Before Ryan had the time to think about it some more, Riley tried swinging the sword left to right. He snorted through his nose and looked at its old edge.
“I really am so sick of it.”
It truly had been a long time. He was wielding the sword only after dying and being revived. He peeked a smile and looked at the black hands that were coming toward him.
“Step back for a moment.”
Inaril had taken a knee to the ground in a respectful pose. Having heard his voice from above, she nodded lightly and got up.
“I delivered the sword to the successor.”
“All right. I said I got it.”
Wielding the sword, he swung his shoulder as he responded and Inaril suddenly disappeared as if she had suddenly sunk to the ground.
After being thrown to the sky, Iril and Ryan landed on the ground. They were trying to find where Inaril went. They felt a presence behind themselves, so they turned their heads.
“Both of you watch carefully.”
To her granddaughter and the pupil she had taken in not long ago, Inaril told them to watch the boy who was swinging the sword. She turned her face toward the boy and added,
“He is the master of the sword.”
“The master…of the sword?”
It looked like her pupil knew who Riley was. Inaril tilted her head to the side for a moment. However, she was not able to ask him if he knew Riley well.
Suddenly, flames started to catch onto the bandages that wrapped the sword.
“Flames on the sword…”
Inaril was not able to see this. Instead, Iril watched the bandages burning up in flames. She muttered with a look of disbelief.
Ryan also vacantly stared at the sword burning up in flames. Now, the bandages were all completely gone. They had become dust. Ryan finally got a grip and looked at Riley.
“The bandages are gone…”
Now, there were just the blade edge and the handle on the sword. Iril observed the sword, snapped out of her shock and looked at Riley.
“… I don’t know who you are trying to please, but…”
After burning away the bandages by setting his sword in flames, Riley swung the sword at the black hand that was almost right in front of his face.
‘W… What the…?’
It was literally in a blink of an eye.
‘What just happened?’
Riley looked like he was still standing in the same spot. His clothes waved lightly in the air. It felt like a sharp light had just swept through the area. That was all that others could feel.
“The arm… is cut off.”
The black hands were unstoppable. So far, it didn’t matter how they swung their swords at it. However, this time, without any sound, a thin line was drawn on the black arm and the cut off part fell to the ground.
Until now, cutting it or trying to deal blunt damage to it only resulted in a sensation of passing through the empty air. This time the black hand had been cut in half by Riley’s sword and fell to the ground.
Iril and Ryan saw a glimmer of hope. With hope in their eyes, they started to follow Riley’s movements.
Not as a girl and a young man, but as swordsmen… their desire to witness and remember Riley’s movement was more important than everything else.
Again, Riley swung the sword.
He was trying to cut down the other black hand that was coming from the back.
Even after all bandages had burned away, the sword was still burning in white flames. The swing of the sword looked like a flag was flowing through the air. The sword grazed past the second black hand.
It seemed Iril and Ryan were not able to follow his movements again. They just had their mouth open vacantly.
Now, both the black hands were on the ground. Riley clicked his tongue big time all of the sudden and quickly turned his body around.
Dragging the tip of his foot on the ground, he made a circle with it and swung the sword at the black space that was still floating next to him.
‘I cut the black hand with Salvation and yet this black space is still here. It means it is not over yet.’
Riley generated a quick, swift and powerful whirlwind with the sword to push the two black spaces near to him. He then promptly moved his legs and moved to where Inaril and others were.
‘If these things were connected to the owners of the hands, there should have been a flinching reaction when the arms were cut off. There was not even the slightest reaction. That means these things do not have the ability to connect the hands to their owners…They must be controlled by someone else.’
Riley was standing in front of Inaril and the other two. He looked at the black spaces which came together to form a bigger space. Riley narrowed his eyes.
‘They combined, but the black space is still smaller than the one I had seen in Lower Solia. It might be possible for more small black spaces to open nearby. It is just that…’
The Holy Sword was already in Riley’s possession. It was correct to assume the party responsible for controlling the black spaces and the hands was unable to achieve their initial objective.
‘He failed to achieve his objective and yet these things are still here. There are two possibilities.’
They could be staying here to kill Riley who had taken possession of the Holy Sword. The other possibility was that they were here to accomplish a goal separate from the Holy Sword.
‘…As I thought!’
Riley felt an energy from behind. He opened his eyes big and turned his head around. Inaril quickly turned her head around the same time.
Inaril quickly tripped off her granddaughter and her pupil to get them to fall over. Inaril twisted her upper body in a large motion.
‘Even if I add the other black space that has just appeared in the mix, it would be still smaller than the last time.’
Riley projected that a few more spaces would appear. He cut off the third black hand with the sword and brought his hand to his waist.
“You are using dirty tricks, Rebethra.”
Having confirmed her pupils’ safety, Inaril faced the black space and spoke. Through the black spaces, a resonating voice could be heard.
<You are the bitch who is using dirty tricks. You dare to betray us after taking the place of the Great One’s Right Hand…>
Inaril pulled her chin. It seemed that she was expecting a response. Toward the man beyond the black space who must be infuriated about now, Inaril said she will rectify his misjudgment.
“I merely chose the right path.”
<You arrogant corpse bitch… Because of you, the position of the Right Hand was vacant for the past decades. I need the position coughed out again.>
Inaril kept her silence. The one beyond the black space poured out curses at Inaril and used his ability on Iril who was on the ground with sharpened eyes.
Another black space was forming in front of them. While on the ground, Iril held her breath and became petrified.
“Ah, by the way, this bastard…”
Wind blew at Iril’s face.
“… is still not trying to save his own ass yet. He must be confident?”
It was Riley.
Again, the sword engulfed in white flame was swung. The black hand that charged toward Iril was cut off clean.
“Last time, you poked at my nerves, so I had a hard time for a while. You could not have been the one to yap all that directly…Who was the runt?”
In an instant, Riley cut off fifth and sixth black hands that appeared shortly afterwards. He predicted where the next black space was going to appear. He quickly turned his head toward the direction.
After that, Riley neutralized the seventh and eighth spaces with sword throws before they could do anything. Riley gritted his teeth and said,
“About me getting hit that one time… All right! I just need to think of it as stepping on a poo. All I need to do is clean it off. However…”
Riley thought about his precious butler who was lying on the ground, drenched in blood. Riley’s face twitched with deadly intent. He continued to talk to the one beyond the black space.
“I cannot stand my people being messed with.”
It seemed that Riley still had not found out about Ryan being there. Riley was grinding his teeth toward someone beyond the space. Ryan held his breath.
‘Have you ever fought to protect someone?’
Ryan was not sure if Riley was the very definition of that but he was certain that Riley was fighting with the heart to protect someone.
Iril was also holding her breath.
“I’ll make you pay dearly for making a hole in Ian’s chest.”
Iril was overwhelmed by Riley’s deadly aura. However, she was also thinking about the old man who had his chest pierced because of her. This was why she was holding her breath.
Having heard Riley’s words, Inaril’s lips trembled as she said Ian’s name.
“Did you just say…Ian?”
Riley was huffing and puffing at the one who was controlling the black hands by opening the black spaces. He turned his head and looked at Inaril.
Below Inaril’s blind, a teardrop rolled down. The teardrop followed down along her chin and fell down.
It wet the forehead of Inaril’s granddaughter who was vacantly sitting there.
“Ian… why is Ian…”
Not sure what to do, Iril’s lips trembled. She thought she should tell Inaril what happened. She held back her own tears.
“Grandmother, the truth is… Because of me… he…”
Because of her, the butler named Ian, the Hero that her grandmother had been looking for, was dead. Iril was going to explain all that. However, Iril heard someone’s voice. It sounded like the voice was running out of breath.
“… Young Master!!”
Iril turned her head towards the direction of the voice. There, she found a girl who she had ran into before, recently. Iril opened her eyes big.
The girl was wearing a maid uniform. It seemed she had gotten there through teleportation. There was a dimensional portal open which was swirling in shape.
Ryan knew who that maid was. Surprised, he opened his eyes big. He looked at Iril and tilted his head to the side.
“That big sis… I definitely… She was the one who used magic on Andal’s Mountain…”
Iril was muttering that Nainiae was a dragon. Ryan, still with his eyes open wide, looked at the maid who had just appeared at the scene.
‘Wait, now that I think about it… She is a Seven Circles mage at that age? Something is off?’
The maid girl didn’t notice Iril and Ryan staring at her. She bowed toward the master she served and took one step to the side.
“Mr. Ian is all right.”
Iril’s eyes shook wildly.
“Fortunately, it was not too late.”
After the girl stepped aside, an old man with herbs on his chest was walking forward while being supported by someone.
“Ugh. Ugh… Young Master!”
It seemed that Riley had been worried all along. With a vacant look on his face, Riley stared at Ian. Sighing in relief, Riley looked angry.
“I… I’m sorry. Again, I ended up…causing problems!”
In a loud voice, Ian shouted his apology. Riley stared at Ian. As if he had seen enough, Riley sighed and shrugged.
“Do you feel like living?”
“Then that’s good enough.”
Riley stared at Nainiae. He had a look that questioned why Nainiae had brought Ian here. Nainiae lightly lowered her head and explained,
“That is… Mr. Ian… insisted that he must come here… So, as soon as Ms. Priesia’s treatment was complete, we came here.”
Having heard the explanation, Riley looked at Priesia who was supporting Ian.
“Don’t worry. He made it past the difficult part. Perhaps because his fundamental constitution is so strong, he recovered quickly even with a little bit of prayer.”
Priesia lifted her shoulder and told Riley that he could relax. It seemed that Riley was finally relieved. He sighed and moved his gaze toward Inaril who was standing next to him.
Inaril carefully tried calling out his name.
Ian was looking at Riley. He turned his gaze to the side and looked at the blind woman with light purple hair.
His voice was full of longing.
“I… Is it really you, Ian?”
“The blind… You are still wearing it.”
They were reunited after several decades. It seemed they were being overcome with emotions. Inaril’s voice was choking as she called out his name.
“… I don’t know what the situation is here, but…”
The emotional reuniting scene continued. At that moment, an emotionless voice could be heard that shattered the mood.
“I would like you to postpone it for a later time.”
It was Riley.
“Nainiae, wrap this up.”
“Yes, Young Master.”
She waved her right hand and formed an isolation barrier. At the same time, she collected the people who were separated in two groups to one safe location. She opened a dimensional space behind her and brought out the swords that Riley had been using.
“Ian is safe, so that’s that.”
There were several dozens of black spaces. Riley was standing in the middle of them. He spun his Holy Sword, the Salvation, fixed his grip on the handle and said to the man who must be listening from beyond the space.
“As for the rest that should be done, they should be done.”
It seemed the sword was responding to the owner’s will. The Holy Sword named the Salvation started to grow the size of the flame on its edges.