Book 2 Chapter 148

Leguna vs Balor (6)

Balor was stunned. He thought back to Ferd's dying expression in a daze. Rage, despair, disappointment, pointless hate... Those expressions were familiar to his young, naughty self. Every time he made a mistake, Ferd's face would have those expressions.

He took what his father did in his last moments to heart. He only remembered that they were the same during his childhood when Leguna reminded him.

Did he really think that before he died? Could it be that he actually considered me his son? Was this how a father was supposed to act? Could I have misunderstood him? Did I? No! I didn't!

"Don't joke with me!" Balor cried, wriggling weakly, "You're lying! You don't care about me! None of you do! You're trying to pull the wool over my eyes!"

"You coward!" Leguna slapped again. "Who hasn't bullied someone else? Who's never been bullied before? Are you condemning the whole world because your sister made a single mistake? You're the real coward here! You have no right to point fingers!"

"You dare call me a coward even after you know what I've been through?! A single mistake? That was a deliberate decision! More than that, it was one that would have killed me if not for luck!"

"You've no guts. You're a mongrel!" Leguna glared, "Don't think I don't know what you're thinking. Yes, Sis's betrayal hurt you. So what? That's no excuse to be such a coward! You condemn your sister for a single mistake, and you condemn yourself and the world for something neither had anything to do with!"

Leguna kicked Balor as he ranted, trying to vent as much as he could while he still had the chance. His victim might pass out at any moment and deny him any further chance..

"How pitiful! Your sister made a single mistake, so little bug Balor isolates himself in a little bubble!" Leguna mocked, "Hmph. You're just too afraid to expose yourself again. You'd rather shut yourself in this little bubble than take a chance! You gave up on the world and only looked after yourself. I don't know what twisted logic you used to make this decision. Weren't you supposed to be smart? You at least were quite decent when you plotted against me! How spinely can you be?!"

"Shut up! You know nothing! (ed. note:... John Snow!)" Balor cried, eyes bloodshot, "Stop twisting the truth!"

"Fucking listen to me!" Leguna roared with another slap, "You're not the only person in this world hurt or betrayed; I bet probably half of every living being has gone through something similar to you! But not a lot of people are as spineless as you! The only justice the world gives you is the knowledge that no one goes through their whole life without getting hurt at least once! Nobody owes anyone anything because of this! You have it no worse than anyone else! Stop insulting me with that fucking wimpy face!"

"And what do you know? Has your family ever betrayed you? Has your sister or brother ever thrown you into the fire to save themselves? You're a milkboy! Come talk to me again when you have actual scars!"

"You're right. My family never betrayed me," Leguna confessed, his tone softening, "I don't know what it's like to have a family. It's one of the many things I've never had, so how could I?"

"Exactly! You have no right to argue with me!" Balor hissed, "You've won the duel, but that only gives you the right to kill me, nothing else! Stop insulting me with your pretentious lectures and kill me already!"

"Yes." Leguna stood up. His eyes wandered to the heavens beyond the forest canopy. "I'm have no right. But you know..."

"What?"

"I envy you."

"Envy me? Would you like to trade your lack of family for my abandonment and betrayal? I'd do it any day!" mocked Balor.

"I envy you," Leguna said, "I envy that you had a decent childhood. I envy your caring parents and loving siblings. I envy that you had someone who looked after you. I envy that you didn't have to wrestle bony dogs and rats for rotten food just so you could get something in your stomach this week. I envy that you don't know what it's like to consider other people's trash gold. I don't care what it looks like to you. I don't care how much their betrayal hurt you. I envy that you, even if only for a few years, had someone that loved you. If I made the kind of mistake I believe you did, I would not have a father to correct me. When I was being chased by the guards back on Chino before I was shipped here, I didn't have a brother that would stand up for me. I didn't have a sibling that would give his life so I could live. I didn't even have a sister that could betray me. I certainly didn't have a sister that would be so sorry for her mistake that she'd beg my sworn enemy to spare my pitiful life!"

Balor fell into contemptuous silence, his eyes red, almost bleeding -- his thoughts a mystery to the world.

Leguna rubbed the corner of his eyes. He'd only wanted to lecture the bastard, but fell into a depressing mood as he spoke. His eyes were now watery and his cheeks wet.

"How blessed you were, and still are," Leguna whispered, "I only have some inclink of what a family looks like by watching others. I don't have the slightest clue what it feels like."

"You really are a pitiful bug. If you don't kill me, I might not even have the heart to kill you." Balor spat.

"Yes, I'm a bug, a pitiful little bug. I had nothing from the day I was born. But this world is fair in its own twisted way. It may give you nothing, but you can get what you work for. Unfortunately, everything you get, you get for a price -- nothing is free. I don't have a family, and it's not something I will have even if I try, so I asked for friendship instead. I had nothing to give in return for it, only my life. So that's what I've done. I've fought with my life on the line every day for what little friendship I have. Eirinn, Boss, Vera, Annie, Innie, I've fought for every day I've had with them. That's why they are so dear to me. I risked my life against you only for them. If I didn't have them, I would not have shown up here today. I would just have left."

"So that's why you're so stubborn?" Balor almost chortled, "How stupid."

"Yes, I'm stupid," Leguna shrugged, "People don't appreciate things they get for free. You didn't have to fight to have your family, you were just given it, so you didn't cherish it. I had to fight for what little I have, so I protect it with everything I have. If that makes me a fool, so be it. It's not really that bad to live the fool's life, really. At the very least I'm better off than your sorry excuse for a life."

"Tsk!" Balor bit his lip. A drop hung in the corner of his eye. He hated with every fiber of his being that Leguna's words had managed to move him. The drop slowly ran down the side of his face to his ear, where it pooled in one of his earlobe's grooves.

"I will let you off this time. If you want you can come back with me. Sis is waiting."

"I will not. I have no desire or wish to see that woman again. She died the moment she chose to abandon me. And I can't go back even if I wanted to. I am not her brother; she killed him the day she left him behind to die so she could save herself," Balor muttered, as much for his own benefit as for Leguna's.

Leguna glanced at his adversary passingly.

"Then leave on your own. But make a vow that you will never make trouble for me or anyone around me ever again. If I find out you're trying anything shady again, I'll kill you no matter how much Sis begs me. Even if she swear to never see or speak with me again, I'll still rip you to shreds!"

Balor humphed.

"I lost to you. Even if I killed you tomorrow Teacher will not make me his successor. Since I lost my chance to become the next head of the guild, I have no reason to fight with you anymore."

"One last question, then… Where's Eirinn?"

Balor chortled painfully.

"So you're still infatuated with that monster?"

"I will not let you call her ugly or a monster. And call it what you want, but she is important to me. I promised Sis to spare you, but, as a fellow disciple under Teacher, you should know I can make your life more miserable than death."

Leguna kept a serene expression, but his heart threatened to burst his eardrums.

Balor hesitated, but finally sighed.

"Come closer."

Leguna felt the request weird. They were the only ones anywhere nearby, there was no reason for Balor to be this secretive. He saw, however, that Balor had no intent on saying it out loud, so he complied. He kneeled beside Balor and put his ear to his mouth. The young man whispered something into his ear, nodding to confirm it when Leguna stared at him with a question mark on his face.

"Semralsin, in a town called Doen..." Leguna memorized. The name was foreign, but he still shuddered when he heard it.

"Is she... well?" he pressed the question out of his tense mouth.

"She's a dishwasher in a small tavern. She barely has anything, but she can stay alive."

"How did you find her?"

This question weighed as heavily on the little boy's heart as the last one. How could Balor locate Eirinn if Moonshadow couldn't even find a trace of someone matching her description?

"I speak the truth. You'll know when you go there. She isn't in my hands. If were the one that found her, do you think I'd fight you one-on-one?"

"Thank you," he said, sincerely.

"Fool!" Balor hissed.

"Thanks again." Leguna shrugged nonchalantly. He glanced at the skies quickly. Host of Darkness was about to expire -- he best leave quickly. "I've said what I wanted to say and heard what I wanted to hear. I will leave now."

"Do what you want. I can do nothing."

"You're right, loser." Leguna stood up gleefully, "The toxin should wear of soon. I am going to Chino, Sis and Kurdak go with me and they'll stay there. If you ever change your mind, you can find her there."

"Don't meddle in my business. My decision has been made. Whether you think it cowardly or not doesn't matter to me. You will never see me again, but neither will that woman!"

Leguna shrugged and vanished.

A few moments after the brat left, a silhouette appeared next to the still-immobile Balor.


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