The day after everyone else moved into the Super Rock Villa, Raon went to pick up Iris from the inn near Mount Yellia. I went to the front door to greet her, only to see her familiar face decked out in valuables? Sunglasses too? What. There are sunglasses in this world? What the heck did you do, Iris??
“Seems you had a good time gambling with the other people at the inn, Iris.”
“Yes my lady, it was quite refreshing.”
“I’m glad you had fun. So, what do you think of our new home?”
“It’s definitely splendid but there is so much dust. I will begin cleaning immediately. I cannot have my lady live somewhere this filthy. I will go consult with Beacrox on tidying up. Make sure to drink a glass of water before noon my lady. I doubt you’ve been hydrating yourself while I’ve been away.”
“Ah, okay. Thank you so much. By the way, I have a present for you so come to my room in an hour. While we are here I also want you to practice with everyone else. We may end up getting involved in battles in the future, and I’m going to be counting on you to protect me, Iris.”
“Yes, my lady.”
Iris’s face had a small smile and she basically glowed with happiness before dashing off to find Beacrox in the kitchens. She was almost skipping. She must have been feeling frustrated about being unable to train her skills while we were living under the Duke. Iris is so cute. She’s the cutest maid ever.
Upon returning to my room that is currently doubling as my workshop, I inspected the glaive I was going to give Iris. The metal itself seemed to glow even without any light shining. It may only be the second blade I have ever created, but it is definitely the most beautiful weapon I have ever laid my eyes on. Probably the most heavy too. It’s 100% metal. I made it this way since metal is the most compatible with my ability, but Iris is definitely strong enough to wield this without issue. She is amazingly strong. Anyway, the weapon.
The shaft is covered in engravings from end to end and it has a silvery sheen from all the mana imbued into the metal. The shaft is also a bit different from the normal spears people are familiar with, as it is made up of sections that combine into one another, creating a weapon that can change from the size of a dagger to a long spear that is taller than the average person. This function is similar to a Bo staff, and I made it this way so Iris can carry it with her without needing to haul around a large weapon. In addition, the blade itself has a special engraving in the form of a crest rather than words, which is a prototype concept I’ve been working on.
Activating the crest is supposed to create a mana layer on top of the edge of the blade, which will protect the metal and make it much sharper and destructive. It will also release blades of mana, akin to the spell usually called wind blade in games. I’m planning on having Iris test this extra skill for me when she spars… Of course, ideally nothing would happen, and I’m usually good about making things that don’t explode, but it’s just in case. Just in case. Besides, Iris has magic resistance so she will be fine, so she is the best person to test this… this holy looking weapon thing I made.
“Now that I’m giving it another look, it really gives off the feeling of some sort of a divine endgame weapon from like Skyr*m or something… Eh, whateverrrr it’s probably fine~ Besides, my Iris only deserves the best so it should be as excellent as possible. It’s not like Choi Han or Cale would get a Skyr*m reference even if I made one lol”
Iris knocked and entered upon hearing my permission. She closed the door, and the moment she laid her eyes on my creation she froze in place, her eyes visibly shaking.
(She’s not saying anything. I-Is it not good enough? Does she not like it?? I made it exclusively for her but what if she doesn’t want it!?)
Oh she snapped out of it.
“M-My lady, is that for me?”
“You made this?!”
Iris actually started tearing up and even broke etiquette, hugging my body in a strong but gentle grasp. She’s taller than me by a whole head so I was slightly lifted by her hug. I froze from surprise. What the heck, Iris has never broken etiquette before ever since she became my maid! I was not even remotely expecting a hug. At most I was expecting a smile or something!
“My lady, this is the most wonderful gift I have ever received in my entire life! It’s beautiful! Are you sure you wish to give this to someone like me? I’m not worthy of such a splendid item!”
“Yes, you are Iris! You’re my dear friend and the only person I could trust in that house we left! I made this just for you with your specifications so only you can wield it anyway!”
Iris finally released me before proceeding to kneel before me. She took my hand into hers as I stood there blankly and pressed her lips to the back of my hand. I think this is some sort of knight’s etiquette? I don’t really remember.
“My lady… I swear to protect you no matter what. Yet again, I swear I will give you my entire life and I pledge my undying loyalty.”
(Chotto matte! Iris, wait a second!)
“Hey! Wait a minute isn’t that a bit much? It’s only a spear! I just kinda felt bad since you are a high grade spear user but you never have had a spear to use… It’s not even perfect! You may get hurt from the prototype crest on the blade! It’s not worth risking your life for me Iris!”
“My lady, this is not a simple spear. I can see all the engravings you made throughout the entire surface and I can imagine the effort that must have taken and though I am magic resistant even I can sense the sheer quantity and quality of the mana you have instilled in this… This is of the same quality as an artifact or divine item my lady. And you are giving such a thing to me, a mere maid. Yet again, I am so thankful I met you my lady. Meeting you was the best thing that happened in my life. Thank you so much.”
“Aw… Iris… I’m so happy I met you too. I will always treasure you and I will protect you too!”
I pulled her up from the floor and we hugged with tears in our eyes and smiles on our faces for a solid three minutes before I remembered something I wanted to get done. Iris also finally remembered she was supposed to be formal with me. I still don’t really understand the situation I was just in. That was the most expression I had seen on Iris ever since I took her in… What the heck…
“Oh, yeah! Iris, why don’t you try sparring with Hilsman and Choi Han out in the plaza? I saw people training out there when I woke up this morning. I’m sure you’ll be able to get some good practice with all these strong people here! I’ll watch so you need to do your best and make me proud, okay?”
“Yes, my lady! I will do my best to get stronger to be worthy of your trust and this glaive!”
I sat on the front steps of the Super Rock Villa next to Cale, as I watched Iris spar with Hilsman using the weapon I gave her… Well, this can’t really be considered a spar when Iris is wiping the floor with him. Every swing of the glaive sent Hilsman flying into the air. Hilsman was supposed to be a highest grade knight if I remember correctly… Choi Han came up and asked to spar, and Iris is even able to keep up with him while using the weapon I made! Is the spear really that strong? Wow, how scary. Also somehow she seems a little more buff than I remember her being a moment ago…? Must be my imagination.
Well, that glaive took all of my resources and my chisel shattered, so I need to go buy more supplies and tools now… Today seems like a good day to do that. Since it’s the Henituse territory I should be safe to walk around and buy what I need as long as I’m in disguise.
“Hey Cale, I can go shopping for materials today right? You don’t need to escort me, but if you could just drop me off in Rain City that would be great. I can just contact you via the bracelet when I’m done~ Sound good?”
“…Sure. Tell Raon where you want to go.”
“Alright~ See you later~”
“Raon~ Can you do me a favorrrrr~?”
Raon teleported me to Rain City, but he couldn’t stay since he had lessons with Eruhaben. I reassured him it would be okay and when I get back that I would make something for him as thanks for dropping me off here. His wings fluttered happily before heading back to the villa. I lowered the hood of my cloak and made sure my hair was hidden before heading over to the craftsman section of the city.
It was lively in Rain City. Thanks to Violan’s efforts to support creative arts, this portion of the city was well stocked and there were many kinds of stores and all sorts of people traveling through. I stopped at a blacksmith first, where I picked up some tips and tricks from the old man manning the store. Apparently folding metal onto itself makes it stronger… He recommended me to a shop where I could pick up a good chisel and gave me directions on where to find the Merchant’s Guild to pick up metal. I made a mental note to become a regular of this kind person’s store.
A second person wearing a black hood came into the store and inspected the swords while we continued our conversation.
“I’m glad a young missy like you is interested in the craft, it gives me hope for the future. Come by anytime and let’s share tips! Have a good day little miss!”
“Thank you for your help! I promise to come back! Do your best or maybe the next time I come I’ll have surpassed you~”
“Haha, I’ll look forward to it. Bye now.”
“Yup, bye bye mister~”
I waved goodbye and left to head towards the shop the old man mentioned, and picked out a good chisel with a steel tip instead of the iron tipped one I was using before. I gave the clerk a silver coin as a tip before heading out to go to the Merchant Guild. The main road was getting very packed so I went onto a side road in between buildings to find another route.
A man with a black hood was walking behind me and I didn’t think much of it, he probably just wanted to avoid the crowd like me. Then two more hooded men showed up. Damn, it wasn’t a coincidence. One of the men was the hooded person who was in that shop before too!
I started running through the alley to try to find a way back to the road with lots of people, but as expected, a weak young lady couldn’t outrun three grown men. One of them clamped his hand over my mouth, stifling my scream while the other two took out rope and a piece of paper… The three were very coordinated and didn’t speak a word to each other the entire time. They’re clearly professionals. I bit the hand of the person covering my mouth and tried to struggle to free my arms, and I got a glance at the paper. It was a portrait of a face I knew far too well. It’s my face!
I flailed and tried to scream again when the shortest of the three punched me in the gut. Hard. I groaned in pain while the third guy smacked the back of my head and I felt myself losing consciousness as I heard them speak to each other for the first time.
“Ouch! This bitch bit me!”
“Shut up dude, does that really matter when the Duke promised six gold coins each just for finding his daughter, let alone returning her to him? We’ll be rich!”
“Hehehe yeah Craig, we’ll be rich. She’s just a young noble lady anyway, just suck it up. I doubt she even did any damage.”
“Damn… This chick better get what she deserves for biting me. She needs to learn what happens when you disobey adults. I’ll take it upon myself as one of the adults here and give the first lesson.”
The man named Craig kicked my leg and I felt my femur fracture, but I couldn’t even move or scream. They had gagged me with a cloth so all I could do was cry out a muffled groan as tears slid down my face as the world got darker and darker.
(The Duke!? No! I don’t want to go! I don’t want to go back! Help! I’m scared! I’m so scared! It hurts, it hurts so much… Iris, Cale, Raon, anyone!! Help me! Help me… please…)
and then everything went black.
I was sitting on the marble steps of the villa watching the Wolf children train. Discovering my legs had gone numb, I got up to stretch and go find something to eat when an unfamiliar face came up to where I was standing and bowed lightly.
‘This is Karin Orsena’s maid, I believe. Was her name Iris? What does she want?’
“Excuse me young master Cale. My name is Iris and I am lady Karin’s maid. It is nice to finally greet you.”
“Can I help you with something Iris?”
“Do you know where my lady is? I wanted to give her the results of testing this glaive she made, but I cannot find her.”
“…She went out to buy things, she should be back soon.”
“I see. Raon-nim must have teleported her. Do you know when she will be returning?”
“Is that any of my business?”
“… I suppose that is fair. I apologize for bothering you. I will be going now”
Iris’s face seemed to stiffen before she schooled it back into a neutral expression and bowed again before heading into the Villa. Was that… worry on her face? Why would she be worried? Though I guess it would make sense with a master like that…
‘Also somehow I get the feeling that maid is similar to Beacrox, but I doubt Karin would have any need for a torture expert given her personality. She seems the type to forgive anyone for anything. I hope it is just my imagination.’
Suppressing a shudder, I sat back down, all appetite lost. Karin should be fine. She seems similar to me, specifically when I was Kim Rok Soo, in that she will survive no matter what. Yes, she should be perfectly fine and will use the bracelet to contact me once she is done.
But for some reason… I have an ominous feeling.