Ardis was surprised seeing the person. Long hair flowing down her back, and a pair of gentle looking eyes. The face that had no blemishes was no different from Nere’s face.
Fillia and Riana behind Ardis had questions. The twins must be surprised too to see someone looking exactly like Nere.
However, what was same is only the shape. Her hair color was thick brown with a tinge of red. Her eyes are blazing red. And she was wearing jet black long robe.
Although the position of her facial features are completely the same, the impression and expression was totally different from Nere.
However, Ardis wasn’t surprised because of the similarity with Nere. He was familiar with her appearance.
「You……, in Reiten――」
Beside of Ardis who was trying to recover from his astonishment, Nere stood out. Without regards to Ardis, Nere approached the woman in black and knelt down with her head on the ground.
「It has been a while. 」
Unlike the usual, she was speaking in utmost courtesy. It had been years since Nere started referring Ardis as her master. However, her attitude till now wasn’t respectful at all.
With another surprising image, Ardis was stunned once again.
「Please refrain from that. I’m not your Sera. 」
「However, it does not change the fact that Sera-sama is Sera-sama. 」
Nere who was still bowing her head to the woman in black immediately answered. The woman closed her red eyes, and sighed.
「I wonder if something can be done to that inflexibility of you girls. 」
「Flexibility will cause problems with our cause to arise. 」
「All the other girls said so too. 」
While smiling bitterly, the woman in black looked over at Ardis and asked Nere.
「Is that person your current master? 」
Receiving Nere’s answer, after seeing Ardis’s face, the woman glanced at the sword on his waist. It wasn’t the sky-colored sword, 『Skies of Myriad Colors』.
Rather, it was the cursed crimson sword that he got in the Corsas Forest. Ardis wasn’t keen on taking around some unknown cursed sword around, so he’d left it at home usually but, since they were moving houses, he took it with him.
In the beginning, he planned to store it across the 『Gate』 but, for some reason, it wouldn’t enter it no matter what.
With no choice, Ardis was walking with the cursed crimson sword on his waist instead of the 『Skies of Myriad Colors』.
「Stand up for the time being. We can’t talk properly if you stay like that. 」
The woman in black then returned her gaze to Nere, and said so with a troubled expression. Then, the elderly man that was sitting beside the woman in black looking for a timing for the whole time spoke.
「Umm……, Angel-sama? 」
「Ah, sorry village chief. 」
The woman who was called Angel-sama turned to him showing an apologetic face. It seems like the elderly man is the chief of this village.
「Who is this person? Is it Angel-sama’s acquaintance? 」
Without seeming bothered he was left out, the village chief asked.
「This girl, let’s see…… she’s something like my niece. It’s a coincidence to meet her here though. 」
「Ooh, she’s Niece-sama I see. Certainly she looks similar. 」
Without doubting the woman’s answer, the village chief’s expression softened. Contrary to that, it was Ardis who got even more confused. Excluding Sharu who originally had no relation to Nere, Ardis, Fillia, Riana, even Rona had round eyes.
「See, didn’t I say she’s Angel-sama’s acquaintance. It’s the right choice to bring them here right? 」
「Yes yes, Deen is right all along. 」
Next to Ardis and co, a gleeful Deen was stabbed by Karina with her elbow. If it’s Angel-sama’s acquaintance, the village chief welcomed Ardis and co saying so.
「Please stay however many nights you wish. 」
While confused by the village chief’s unexpected friendliness, Ardid decided to stay in the house lent to them.
No matter how used to camping Ardis was, having a warm place to sleep is very appreciated. Even more so for the twins that only had their first real travel.
They were guided to a wooden house that didn’t have anyone living in it by the villagers under the chief’s instructions.
However, it wasn’t an abandoned house, seemingly cleaned periodically. It might be looked after for travellers albeit rare.
After the guiding villagers left, Ardis verified that no one was around before immediately questioning Nere.
「The woman just now, is she someone you know? 」
Nere nodded as if there wasn’t anything strange.
「It is as what she said just now, she is an existence like mine fraternal aunt. 」
Ardis didn’t buy that completely. Certainly there’re paternal aunts and nieces that doesn’t differ much in age. It might even be possible that they’re the same age.
It’s impossible for a fraternal aunt to be the same age as the niece, and they should normally differ in age like a parent and daughter. However, the woman who was referred as Angel-sama didn’t look strange if someone said she’s a twin of Nere.
Although the villagers seemed to believe it without any problems, Ardis felt a terrible misalignment.
Her appearance was even more of concern. Other than the colors of her eyes and hair, the others are totally same as Nere. The appearance of the woman was undoubtedly the same as the phantom woman that Ardis saw during the defense battle in Reiten.
Appearing at the same time an abnormality happened with the cursed sword, easily killing the demonic being that would still move despite losing its head, then disappearing into the city of Reiten, an unknown woman. For Ardis, they could only be the same person.
「What could it be, mine master? 」
「I have something to ask from that aunt of yours. Is it possible to meet her without any villagers? 」
「That would not be needed. It seems that person has an interest in mine master. I presume she would visit soon. 」
Nere said so seemingly understood everything with a calm face. On the other hand, ever since Ardis arrived in this village, it was nothing but something feeling amiss.
Leaving aside the strange friendliness that the villagers had to Nere, they weren’t afraid of Rona at all. Although Ardis and co knows that Rona is an intelligent creature, for the others, he’s nothing more than a meter-long fierce predator beast.
Normally, it’s not strange to see people running away because of that. However, even if walking beside or seeing Rona, the villagers wasn’t bothered at all.
It isn’t a bad thing. It’s not like they have malicious intents or hostility. Rather, being welcomed warmly is something good for the party.
However, this village isn’t normal. It’s natural for Ardis to think so. Though, in the first place, having a village here in this place is strange.
Soon after that, a visitor arrived. And just as Nere said, the visitor was the woman referred as Angel-sama, and tagging along are the siblings that guided them here, Deen and Karina.
「Sorry for disturbing when you are resting, but would you be free for a chat? 」
Nere invited the three into the room, with the woman in black requesting for a talk. Rather, Ardis is hoping for that, so there’s no reason for him to refuse.
「Two of you, thanks for guiding. It’s fine to return now. 」
Although the woman told the two siblings that they can excuse themselves, it seems like the two intends to stay.
「Eeh――, we want to hear about the outside too. 」
「Can’t we stay here? 」
「Fufufu. There’re more chances to speak about it after this. 」
The woman denied gently to Deen who seemed unsatisfied and Karina who asked hesitantly.
「Rather than that, don’t you two have work now? Is today’s hunt procured? 」
The siblings’ faces seemed painful after that was said.
「Today’s harvest will be lesser since you two were guiding guests but, if that’s the result of abandoning your jobs, even I can’t cover for you, you know? 」
Seeing their disadvantage, the siblings reluctantly left the room with their regretful gazes. It seems like they have to continue their job that was interrupted when they met Ardis and co.
「Now then. 」
The woman faced back towards them, and renewed her smile.
「The first would be introductions, I suppose. I’m Sera. Can I have your names? 」
It doesn’t change the fact that she’s someone with unknown background but, at the very least, the woman who named herself Sera seemed earnest.
Although Ardis was said 『Getting many enemies』 by Ted and Norris continuously, it’s not like he’s making them intentionally.
His personality wasn’t that troublesome to make someone an enemy if they’re friendly.
Following Ardis, the twins named themselves.
「It’s Fillia! 」
「I’m Riana! 」
「And, this guy is Rona, and she’s Sharu. 」
Ardis as well introduced Rona who was still pretending as a beast, and also Sharu who probably had no intentions of introducing herself. Since it seems like she knew about Nere already in advance, there’s no need for her self introduction.
「Ara ara, such energetic children. 」
Sera smiled gently towards Fillia and Riana. At the very least, her eyes didn’t show any particular difference in treatment towards the twins.
「I want to ask you something. 」
「What could it be? 」
Ardis immediately started the conversation with a question to Sera.
「Do you know about this sword? 」
While saying so, Ardis put his hand on the handle of the cursed crimson sword. Ardis noticed Sera was looking at the sword for a moment just now.
On top of that, Sera’s figure was incredibly similar to the phantom woman that he saw in Reiten before. He thought that the sword must have something to do with her.
「Isn’t that a sword left behind by the Salvation Demons? You’re quite amazing. Not only acknowledged as a master by one of the Practitioner’s daughters, you even gotten the Salvation Demons’ power. 」
「Salvation Demons? Practitioner? What are you saying? 」
Ardis had a bunch of question at the words he heard for the first time.
Sera’s eyes widened at Ardis’s question.
「What do you mean? 」
「That’s my line. What is up with this sword? 」
A question for a question, not understanding each other’s situation, Sera seemed to notice something.
「Could it be, you weren’t told anything? 」
「That’s what I’m saying? 」
Frowning as she understood the situation, Sera’s questioning target changed to Nere.
「Hey……, could it be that you never explained anything to him? 」
「I was not asked. 」
Nere answered with a composed expression. The next moment, Sera’s right hand covered her forehead with a deep sigh.
Despite looking exactly like Nere except the colors, her expression constantly changes, and now she had a stupefied face. The more they got used to Nere’s usual expressionless face, the more discomfort they got.
「Seriously, why are you girls always like this……」
Sera muttered like she had a bad acting daughter.
「Can I actually have an understandable explanation? 」
「Yes, sorry. We were at about the sword, right. 」
Ardis who didn’t understand about anything interrupted, as Sera apologized and explained the identity of the cursed crimson sword.
「Basically, a sword that can bring an end to demonic beings, it would be the best description. 」
Since it’s this girl, she probably never explained it, she muttered so before continuing her explanation.
「It has overwhelming power against demonic beings, but on the contrary, it is a sword that is practically useless against humans. I don’t know where you got it from but, it’s an incredibly precious sword. 」
「Before, there was an image from this sword that looked just like you. Is that not you? 」
What intrigued Ardis the most was the phantom image that he saw in Reiten. Since they looked the same, Ardis expected Sera to know something about it.
「That’s undoubtedly not me. What you saw was probably the lingering thoughts of the maker. 」
「In other words, there’re others that have the same looks as you? 」
「Yes. It’s not like we know each other by person though. I believe the closest one near here would be the one in Alburn. 」
She was saying that the image that appeared from the sword wasn’t her. Not just that, she said that there’re others who looks exactly same like herself and Nere.
「Then you don’t have anything to do with this sword? 」
「Basically none. But it’s not like I’m completely unrelated either. 」
「What the heck. You’re saying it like a riddle. 」
The more he asked, the more question he had. Although Sera didn’t seem like she is hiding anything particularly, Ardis pondered if it would be a good choice to ask further.
Till now, Ardis hadn’t asked anything about Nere’s origins. That was because Ardis didn’t want his origins to be asked.
He thought that Nere noticed that as well, so she didn’t ask but, from what Sera said just now, it seems like it was his misunderstanding. It might be that Nere from the start never had any interest in Ardis’s origins.
「Do you have anything else to ask? Of course, I have a secret or two, that’s why I can’t answer everything but, I will answer in place of the troublesome niece I have. 」
If she’s not curious about his own origins, then there’s no need to keep the questions he had been saving. Thinking about that, Ardis asked the most intriguing question he had.
「The villagers is calling you as 『Angel-sama』, why is that? 」
「Aah, that? Regarding that……」
Sera had a bitter expression at Ardis’s answer.
「You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to. 」
「No, it’s not something like that. How should I put it, it’s a bit embarrassing to say it myself……. Umm……. Saying it feels like I’m being overly self-conscious……」
Her words were vague, and her gaze was looking afar.
「……Maybe I should ask Elma to explain it for me. 」
After nodding to her own mutter, Sera concluded as such to Ardis.
「Yes, let’s do that. We will meet again tomorrow, and I will be answering any other questions you have once you heard the story from Elma. 」
Saying those words, Sera left the room quickly without Ardis even having the chance to ask who is Elma.