Chapter 208. Before Departure (7)
“I don’t mind if I don’t have that…”
Nainiae, who replied that it was okay not to give her the gift, seemed to change her words as she saw her hand being pulled by Riley and asked carefully.
“Excuse me, young master, but suddenly where?”
A question mark floated on Nainiae’s face as Riley suddenly grabbed her hand and tried to move out of reach of other people’s eyes.
You can just give it to me, why do we have to…
Ansirium, which was ruined by Epidemic, had quite a lot of remnants of the building where the two could hide themselves from other people’s eyes.
“Is here all right?”
Riley, who decided to deliver the gifts as soon as possible, hurriedly lifted the bag, recalling the voices of his group whispering behind their backs as they moved.
Nainiae, who was staring blankly at the bag that Riley had lifted, raised her gaze and looked at Riley’s face. “Do I take it out?”
“Oh my…” Riley, who frowned at Nainiae’s question, tucked his hand into the bag, and pulled out a red coat. “Here, take it.”
“…this?” A red coat popped out from the bag, and Nainiae’s eyes were wide open.
“In teacher’s cave… It was in the teacher’s treasure trove, right? How did young master get this…”
When she saw the red coat that Riley gave her, which she used to wear in the past, Nainiae asked how he got this, but stopped talking.
“So, it turns out that everything young master gave us… They seemed like the items I had seen in the teacher’s treasure trove, but then…” Nainiae stared at Riley, realizing that all the items Riley had given to the group were items she had seen in Andal’s cave.
“Young master, couldn’t it be that you stopped by the teacher’s cave?”
“…that’s right.” Riley nodded reluctantly and explained why he stopped by Andal’s cave. “Before we go there, I thought it would be better to have insurance, so I stopped by to give them a life jacket. Apparently… I heard you had a warm-up with Abyss while I was away?”
Nainiae, who had a faceless look at Riley’s question again, nodded with a gloomy look. “…yes.”
“I heard that you were brutally crushed?”
When Nainiae, who was grabbing the shoulder of the coat with both hands, replied with her head down, Riley grinned and tucked his hand into the bag. “Well, you could lose.”
Riley, who took out the second gift for Nainiae, a ‘white scarf,’ wrapped it around her neck and spoke. “If you won, I would have thought it was rather suspicious.”
To the soft texture that wrapped around her neck, Nainiae, who was looking down with a gloomy expression, suddenly opened her eyes and looked at Riley, who was standing opposite her. “…young master?”
Nainiae’s fingers, which were holding the coat, trembled lightly.
“This is, what…” It wasn’t as good as the coat she had in her hand, but Nainiae, whose face was blushing enough to be spotted, stopped talking as if embarrassed.
“There was a reason why I asked to talk to you separately.”
It was because Riley’s face was close to her nose, perhaps to tie a knot on the scarf.
“Done. Well, it’s good.” Riley, who took a step back and looked at Nainiae’s scarf, nodded and praised her as he thought the scarf looked good on her.
“I gave everyone one, but if they saw me giving you three, I thought they’d be grumpy about it because of their personalities… I don’t want to be bothered, so I am giving it to you secretly.”
When Riley asked her not to tell the number of gifts to the group, Nainiae replied briefly. “Yes…”
After replying, Nainiae, who was blankly fiddling with her scarf, realized something strange about what Riley had just said and tilted her head with a question mark. “…wait, three?”
With the two gifts that she had received, Nainiae’s face blushed even more when Riley said he would give her one more gift.
“Well… I am satisfied enough just with the coat and scarf. There is one left, but it’s up to you to decide to use it or not…”
Then Riley, who put the empty bag down on the ground, put his right hand in the pocket of his jacket.
“Don’t say useless things.” When Riley’s bag lightly fell to the ground, whether it was empty or not, Nainiae, who belatedly realized that the last gift was not in the bag, looked at Riley. “…the last thing I’ll give you is this.”
Riley’s fist, which hadn’t been clenched before it entered his pocket, was somehow clenched when it came out of the pocket.
“Ah yes.” Nainiae, who nodded at Riley, put the red coat she had in her hands behind her shoulders, and carefully stretched out her hands.
“There’s no particular reason. It’s just…” Riley, who couldn’t see Nainiae’s eyes, looked aside and blurred the end of his words, slightly opened his right fist, and dropped what he was holding in his hand. “It bothers me that you aren’t wearing the ring I gave you before but just hanging it on your neck… That’s why I’m giving it.”
Seeing the two rings that fell on her hands, Nainiae’s eyes began to tremble. “Ring…”
“Yes, it’s a ring.”
Maybe she was embarrassed, Nainiae, who covered her lips with her chin buried in the scarf she just received, only blushed and couldn’t speak… Riley glanced down and looked at the ring she had.
“That… it’s still hanging on your neck.”
The Astroa ring that Riley gave her around last spring, she made it into a necklace and kept it.
“Why don’t you wear it on your finger?”
Even though it was an efficient ring that helped the person wearing it to accumulate mana by themself, she was using it as a necklace without wearing it on her finger.
“That’s…” Nainiae mumbled, burying her chin in her scarf and shrugged her shoulders as if she were Riley.
“Wear it. Don’t hang it on your neck.” Riley gave her a new ring, wondering if she didn’t like the design, because it bothered him if she wore it on her neck and not on her finger.
“I asked Heliona, and she said this shape was your taste.”
Riley, who pointed to two thin rings with only silver without any decoration or pattern, added that she should use them well, and turned around.
“The shape of the ring is not the problem.”
Nainiae, who looked at the rings on her hands, bit her lips, moved the rings to her right hand, and then stretched her empty left hand forward and pulled Riley’s sleeve.
“Hmm?” After delivering the three gifts, Riley, who was going back to where the group were gathered, turned his head slightly.
“The reason I hung the ring from young master… I was wondering if I dared to wear it. I… I am…” Nainiae, who pulled Riley’s sleeve with only her thumb and forefinger, lowered her head, biting her lips firmly. More than half of her face was buried in the scarf, glowing red as if it was spewing out steam. “Two rings given by you, there were… two.”
“Oh, that’s right. I heard that two are one set.”
Unlike Astroa’s ring, which had only one, the ring that Riley gave to Nainiae this time was a set of two, so it wouldn’t work unless two were worn.
“Excuse me, then…” Nainiae carefully pushed her right fist on her chest toward Riley. “The one is… couldn’t young master take it back?”
At Nainiae’s request to take one back, Riley looked at her, frowning as if saying what she was talking about.
With her face lit red, Nainiae was waiting for Riley’s answer without daring to look up.
“This ring, two are one set, right?”
“If you don’t wear one, it won’t work unless you wear it at the same time, so if you wear one, it’s usually half…”
The ring Riley gave was not ‘two people each one’, but ‘the ring that only worked when one person wore two’.
Riley, who was trying to ask why she tried to return one of the rings to him, stopped speaking halfway, looking at Nainiae’s fingers holding onto his sleeve.
“Yes, well…” said Nainiae with her head down.
Riley accepted one of the rings she gave back with an expression that he couldn’t help it. “As you wish.”
Nainiae’s fingers, which were holding onto his sleeve, were trembling lightly, very lightly as if they were representing her feelings.
“You are here?”
When Riley and Nainiae, who had disappeared for a while, returned to their seats, the corners of the group’s eyes that looked at them narrowed.
“What the hell have you been doing?”
“Why does it have a strange atmosphere?”
When Nara and Sera asked what happened, squeezed their eyebrows, Nainiae avoided answering by covering half of her face with her white scarf as if she were possessed.
“Well, I just gave her the gift in the same way.”
Unknowingly, Riley, who was flushing, looked at the two as if he was nervous, then approached Abyss.
“Are you ready?”
“Yeah.” When Riley looked back at the group he had brought and replied that the preparations were over, Andal, who was venting his anger nearby, stepped forward and asked. “Are we going now?”
“Yes, we’re going now.”
As one of the seven parts Riley decided, Andal, who complained that he had waited for a long time, screamed “Finally!” and clenched his fist.
“Then, whoever’s going to go, gather around me.”
As Abyss beckoned to come closer to the group, he approached them with frequent steps from Nainiae, who was shy, to Sera, who was sneaky, and laughing.
“The seven parts, including Riley… soon will go to ‘that world’. Are you ready?”
When Abyss asked, the whole group nodded.
“Good.” Abyss, who closed his eyes as if satisfied, spoke with a purple energy around his body.
“All parts, close your eyes.”
Most of them closed their eyes when Abyss said that, but Andal stared at Abyss with his arms folded as if suspicious.
“Lizard child. You should close your eyes too.”
“… Anyway, I don’t want to.”
After confirming that grumpy Andal closed his eyes, Riley finally looked at the faces of those who were going to go with him one by one and closed his eyes after them.
“…when you open your eyes again, before your eyes.” After saying that, Abyss stopped talking. “…”
Riley carefully opened his closed eyes.
“…did you call her by any chance?”
“Ah, I’m screwed! I’m going to miss the subway!”
“The other time, I couldn’t drink the coke because it ran out of steam.”
After Abyss stopped talking, what they heard was the voices of people they had never heard before.
“I’m back… I’m here…”
Riley, who opened his eyes, discovered tall buildings and people wearing unusual attire that felt somewhat alien.
“Oh my God…”
“…here, what the hell?”
Riley, who was looking around the high-rise building, turned to the familiar voice coming from next to him. “Hmm?”
There were two people.
“Th, that… Is that a castle?”
“This ground… what else is this?”
Even though they only closed and opened their eyes, the world had changed, and the two people who couldn’t hide their confusion continued to mutter something.
Riley frowned at the two. “Where’s the rest?”