“No…” She cupped her hands around her mouth.
“Iona! Iona, can you hear me Answer me, please!”
She circled the shop in search of Iona, but there was no trace of anyone.
Her teeth sank into her lower lip.
No, if demons did this, they would have left a trace, she told herself.
Not that she was capable of tracking demons.
She’d need a priest or a crusader with divinity—or even a tool with divine power.
Since she didn’t have any tools, she needed a crusader.
The sound of footsteps made her glance up.
Dylan was running towards her, panting lightly.
“Young Lady Deron!”
Eris ran towards Dylan and immediately began scolding him.
“Dylan—Iona!” she snapped.
“What about Iona!”
Dylan suddenly seemed to realize something was amiss.
His jaw clenching, he asked, “Did something happen to her”
“I just felt a demon, and now Iona is nowhere to be seen.” Eris’s voice rose to a shout.
“Hurry and trace it—now!”
“I told you to hurry and find it! You’re the only one who can track a demon’s trace!”
“Hurry!” Eris urged.
“Calm down for a second!” Dylan grabbed Eris’s shoulders.
She looked so agitated, he couldn’t treat her as he normally would.
But Eris kept mumbling, almost insanely.
“Need to…find Iona quickly…”
She stopped talking and blinked at him.
“We’re going to miss what’s left of the evidence if you keep this up,” he said tersely.
“And you’ll lose her forever!”
Eris seemed to have regained her composure.
She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and relaxed her facial features.
“Sir Fortis, I request the use of search magic.”
He turned around and set the search parameter around the shop.
He closed his eyes and concentrated, and suddenly his body began to glow with a thin light.
It’s high-quality divinity.
Eris couldn’t help feeling a little surprise.
That kind of divinity was supposedly only held by the high priest.
The divinity held by most other priests showed even thinner light.
“Arpas don hapaty.”
He spoke in a foreign language.
It was an angelic language that had been forgotten in this world.
He mumbled a little, and the light particles began to grow.
The high divine magic was used to trace the past, so it went back through time.
It was only possible by those who held high quality divinity.
The light particles within the magic started to form a shape of a person.
The light particle reenacted what had happened to her.
She’d let Dylan and an elderly woman go, but the moment she made to open the door, she was kidnapped by a mysterious man.
Eris’s face turned blue again at the sight.
She tried to grab the kidnapper’s shoulder, but it just went through the light.
“Judging from the size, the kidnapper is a man,” Dylan said.
“Is there anyone that comes to mind”
Eris pondered for a bit.
Way too many.”
“Seems like she had more enemies than I realized.”
“Iona didn’t make them,” Eris pointed out.
He said nothing.
Instead, he recalled the magic.
And began mumbling again.
“Pera lotus man.”
He let out a bit more divinity, and suddenly there was a golden line stretching from where the kidnapper had been.
“What is this”
“It shows where the kidnapper moved to.”
Her eyebrows rose slowly.
“The divine magic is so wonderful.”
“If that kidnapper hadn’t left a demonic trace in his wake, this wouldn’t have been so easy,” Dylan replied.
Demon power and divine power were polar opposites, but with chase magic like this, divine power stuck onto the demon power, making it easier to trace.
Eris’s jaw clenched a little.
“Do you think it was a demon that kidnapped Iona” she asked.
“No,” replied Dylan.
“My hunch tells me that the kidnapper was in possession of a tool with demonic power.” He rose to his feet.
“Why don’t we head to the rooftop of the shop It’ll be easier to see where the line leads to from there.”
Just then, Lina showed up, looking restless from waiting indoors.
“W—what about Miss” she asked, frowning.
“Is she ok”
“We’re going to chase them.”
At his words, Lina’s face seemed to turn blue.
“Oh, no,” she said.
“She…she finally left the palace and got free, and now—”
“Calm down, Lina,” Eris told her kindly.
“We’ll bring her back.”
Lina’s looked like she was choking back a sob.
“I promise you in the name of Theres,” Dylan added.
“I’ll bring Viscount Lesprey back in one piece.
You should go back to the mansion, first.
If you stay, you might also be in danger.”
“B-but—” she began in protest.
“There’s nothing you’d be able to do if you stayed here,” he pointed out, cutting her short.
Lina stared at her feet.
Eris clicked her tongue.
“You speak the same way you act, Lina.
Go back to the mansion and prepare so Iona can rest comfortably when she returns.”
Lina didn’t look very convinced, but she seemed to realize her staying here would delay the chase.
She gave a slow nod.
“Okay,” she said.
“I’ll do that.”
Minutes later, Eris and Dylan were staring at the Lesprey carriage carrying Lina as it rolled out of sight.
Then they began checking their weapons.
Eris gritted her teeth.
“How dare he kidnap Iona! Whoever it was, I won’t forgive him.”
Dylan’s lips formed a thin line.
In unison, the dup moved to the top of the shop.
It was such a sudden decision.
Ridrian lifted the curtain, then winced at the bright morning sunlight and closed it again.
He’d been up all night, and facing the sun seemed to worsen his fatigue.
I miss her.
He might as well be addicted to her.
Ridrian missed Iona, even though he’d just spent the entire day with her yesterday.
If he could have things his way, he’d have buried his lips in her neck, dragged her to the bed and fallen asleep with her.
He wished he could hug her to crushing point, or fall asleep wrapped in her scent.
She’d probably be shocked to death.
Just imagining it made him feel better, for some reason.
He leaned against the window, his messy hair still against the glass, his golden eyes roving slightly.
“When is Iona coming in today”
“It is an off day for Aide Lesprey,” replied a nervous-looking servant.
Maybe he should get rid of the public servants’ legal day off for a bit.
Two hours later, Emperor Ridrian donned commoner clothes and hopped over the wall.
It was his first time doing so as an adult, but it was much easier than he thought.
Upon landing, he tidied up and mumbled, “The guards are useless.
Should put some sense into them later.”
It was almost as if he had no idea he was the strongest man in the Empire.
A familiar voice reached his ears all of a sudden.
“I’ve been waiting for you.”
Ridrian’s lips twitched.
Ravis stood there, completely unfazed, like he already knew Ridrian would do this.
“I’ll be accompanying you,” he said.
“Where do you think I’m going” Ridrian asked him.
“Aren’t you going to Miss Iona”
For a second, Ridrian was silent.
Then he said, curtly, “You won’t be able to keep up.”
“If you run, I’ll take the carriage,” was Ravis’s response.
“Then we’ll at the same time.”
Ridrian’s nostrils flared.
“You’ve lost your fear in me.”
“I’m the divinity, just for Iona.”
He hadn’t been like this before the prayer festival.
Ridrian had no idea what had gotten into him.
In the end, he began walking, heading for Iona’s mansion, and his stepbrother followed.