"Kid, did you knock that woman up at such a young age?" a tall and slender middle-aged man asked with a hint of surprise when he saw Vera, "You have great taste! But this matter is indeed rather troublesome. How about this, I have with me here a medicine made by an alchemist. She's guaranteed to feel no pain at all, and there's practically no risk. All I ask for in return is 20 gold coins and one night with your partner here. If you leave her with me for another night, I'll give you the medicine for free."
Leguna hugged Vera as he patted on her shoulder lightly, before giving the man who held the yellow pellet in his hands a glare near absolute zero.
"If you don't want to die, scram!"
The man was looking at Vera with a lustful gaze when Leguna spoke. He imagined how great it would feel to bed a woman with such an amazing figure. He didn't think a child would rebuke a mighty magus like him. He considered how he would punish the offensive kid.
Don't you know pissing a magus like me off never ends well? Hmm, should I take one of your limbs?
Things didn't play out like the magus expected, however. When he raised his eyes to meet the kid's, he felt a weird sensation envelop him.
There was only one way he could describe it: he was trapped in absolute darkness. He could neither sense nor feel any direction, gravity, or the passage of time! There was only infinite darkness! The magus was severely unsettled. Cold sweat burst out on his forehead. He had nothing to go on to guess what was going to happen, but it certainly wasn't anything good. He left without saying another word.
"Oh? What's wrong? You've been shooed away?" asked a young man the former returned to his table.
"The heck... Something's wrong with that kid!" said he as he wiped the sweat off and took a swig to suppress his fear.
"What kind of awesome figure would frequent a run-down inn like this?"
The young man was rather surprised. He thought that, while the old man wasn't anyone amazing, he was still a seventh stratum magus. There should be nobody in the inn someone of his ability needed to worry about.
"Let's forget this matter. We'll leave right after we finish. You didn't meet his eyes just now. I don't expect you to understand," said the middle-aged man in a low voice.
"What kind of feeling?" asked the youth.
"The one you get when you stare Death in the eye!"
Leguna calmed his emotions down and continued to console Vera. Even though he had only spent a short while with her, she had taken rather good care of him.
Seeing how weak she looked, in stark contrast to how headstrong she usually was, he felt a strong desire to protect her. That was why his heart rate soared when he realized the man was a magus like the one who killed Vera's younger brother. A rush of fury clouded his reason. Now he had successfully scared the man off, he resumed his conciliatory efforts.
"Will you forgive me?"
Even though Vera had appeared to calm down, her words convinced him she was still not back to normal.
"Sis, I'm not..." tried he to explain.
Vera smiled slightly.
"Of course I know you're not my brother. But I can't apologize to him anymore, and I don't have the guts to ask him to forgive me either. You really resemble him a lot, you know? Even though you look quite different, your personalities are almost identical. Perhaps, this way, I'll be able to live this down better. Will you forgive me?"
"I… I forgive you," he nodded, "I believe your brother forgives you as well. Sis, you're wrong. You are a good person. I know it!"
"Thank you!" exclaimed Vera, her eyes tearing up again.
"Hey, do you think it's wise for us to not butt in? The kid's taking advantage of her at our expense!" said Kurdak to Cyranos as he looked 'concernedly' at the kid.
"Nope," said Cyranos straightforwardly.
"Why?" asked Kurdak.
"While I'm not completely sure how he feels about the matter, I know for a fact Vera only sees him as a little brother. I'm not bothered."
"Alright, let's hope that's the case," Kurdak said with a sigh, before he looked at Vera's pained form.
"She's really had it tough these past years. I hope she'll be better after tonight. If her temper decreases a bit, it'll be easier for us going forward."
"Was that how you felt when you went to kill that magus?" asked Cyranos.
"Well, that's part of it. The main reason is I can't forgive someone who wrongs my woman! I was even willing to trade my life for his!" exclaimed Kurdak proudly.
"For you to have challenged a magus of your stratum alone... It's suicide. Don't forget it's only thanks to me that you even made it out alive," tsukkomi'd Cyranos, unusually verbose.
"Sheesh! You make it sound like you're the star of the show! You just came later than me. If you had gone to do the deed first, you'd be in a similar position!" countered Kurdak, oblivious to the fact that he was dissing the one who saved his life.
"You made Vera think I was pummeled by some guy at the casino because of losing too much. You made me get scolded with you," retorted Cyranos, digging up an old debt.
"Well, you could've told her we were actually avenging her brother for her sake. Why didn't you?" asked Kurdak.
"I didn't want to," Cyranos smiled, "And to be frank, disposing of a magus does feel rather satisfying."
"Then you deserved to be scolded!" Kurdak shouted.
He looked back at Leguna and Vera.
"Let's go. I think the kid noticed us."
"Um, Sis, I think tomorrow... No, from now on, I'm going to have a hard time here," whispered Leguna with a pained expression.
He pointed at Kurdak and Cyranos.
"Tch, it's only those two. What's the big deal?"
After a good cry, Vera seemed to have returned to her usual self. The alcohol in her system seemed to have worn off as well.
"Sis, don't tell me you still haven't realized it even after so many years."
Vera furrowed her brow.
"You really didn't notice anything?"
"Cut it with your riddles. What did I miss?"
Vera gave him a weird look.
"Sigh, putting aside Cyranos, I'll bet ten gold coins Boss has a thing for you!"
Vera hurriedly covered Leguna's mouth.
"You little punk, gossiping around at a young age! We're only partners, that's all!"
Seeing the embarrassed Vera, he couldn't help but laugh. He'd had a rather good day. Not only did he manage to strike up a relationship with his superior in the morning, ensuring his career would be smooth sailing in the coming days. He'd also managed to travel around Starfall and familiarize himself with the place so he would no longer get lost. And, in the evening, he managed to see all four of Vera's sides: tough, drunk, weak, and shy. While the first two were not particularly attractive, the last two were completely classic! Perhaps Kurdak and Cyranos might even get jealous of his haul.
"Come on, there's no need to react so seriously! I'll go tell them," answered he after considerable thought.
"Tell them what?"
"I'll tell them you're completely uninterested and only consider them your partners. They'll be able to move on earlier this way instead of pining for your affection all the time," explained he teasingly.
His sadistic side was growing more pronounced as the days passed.
"Y-y-you..." mumbled Vera.
"Oh? So you are interested in one of them after all! Come on, tell me. I won't let them know," pushed Leguna as he stretched out his claws for more gossip.
Vera looked at him in the manner one would look at a weirdo. She couldn't believe the kid that acted so meek around her would grasp the flow of the situation.
"I'll see if you dare! I'll skin you alive if you do!" threatened she in an attempt to strangle for control of the conversation.
Leguna looked at her without batting an eye.
"Sis, I won't be able to sleep well at night knowing that two magnificent men like Boss and Cyranos are being wasted on you. Even if you're quite a fine woman, it doesn't mean you can monopolize the two like that. Given how well they treat me, wouldn't it be too cruel to leave them hanging without a proper answer?"
"You are cruel and heartless! I see my care has been wasted on you!"
"Come on, I'm just curious, alright? If you won't say, I'll guess," complained Leguna, rolling his eyes.
"Hmph!" Vera didn't attempt to stop him at all.
"Well… I think it's Cyranos. He looks more reliable and is more handsome. He also has a rather pleasant personality. Don't the others always say quiet men are more mysterious and alluring?"
"Tch!" Vera clicked her tongue.
"That Cyranos is such a bore! He hardly ever speaks twice a day. Being with him would be far too dull!"
Cyranos sneezed the moment Vera spoke.
"Oh? You caught a cold? Is your constitution that weak?" mocked Kurdak.
Leguna didn't think Vera would criticize the man he thought would be her ideal type. With a flash of inspiration, he continued with a sly gaze.
"Oh, so you like Boss after all! Hmmm, your taste is rather... heavy!"
"That's even more wrong!" Vera reacted strongly, "Just look at his huge frame. He's just like a dumb bear! He's not just ill-tempered, he also slacks off a lot! Why would anyone like a guy like him?!"
"Achoo! Achoo! Achoooo!"
This time, it was Kurdak's turn to sneeze. Seeing Cyranos's disdainful gaze, he laughed.
"Hehe, if that isn't a creepy coincidence, I don't know what is!"
Previous Chapter Next Chapter